Updated: Jun 26
Recognizing the need for simulation within hearing healthcare clinical training is the first step towards more robust experiential learning. There are hundreds of articles across multiple medical professions that point to the advantages of simulation and why this kind of training benefits both trainees and trainers.
But are educators taking full advantage of simulation in their teachings? Even with the right tool on hand in the classroom, often simulation technologies are underutilized.
It is no secret that there are hundreds of simulators around the world currently sitting in the closet while lecture-based learning continues and trainees continue to practice their ear mold or fitting techniques on classmates. It also means that many young hearing healthcare practitioners dive into the clinical world without the proper hands-on experience.
Those educational institutions that have fully embraced simulation have quickly realized its benefits and have reaped a fast and significant return on investment (ROI).
Let’s look at some of their best practices:
1. Educate Faculty
Once faculty members are aware the simulation equipment has been purchased, they will be able to start looking at how they can use it within their own day-to-day instruction. Educational institutions who have succeeded with simulation ensure faculty members are made aware of the piece of equipment and will put focus on educating them on basic uses of the simulator and provide examples of how best to use it for hands-on training.
We’ve found that educational institutions with at least one CARL champion are generally the most successful. The CARL champion is someone person who takes care of the simulator, tells everyone about it, and spreads information across classrooms and even departments.
Pro Tip: As a CARL champion, you can make people aware of our simulator’s use and how others can use it. This means CARL goes from a cool tool for a few lessons to the hottest piece of equipment that every faculty member and student wants to book time with. This approach will ensure your institution gets best use out of this equipment, and it will help you build a compelling business case for equipment you want to get funded quickly in the future.
2. Educate Students
Believe it or not, we've found students provide some of the best insights into how they want to use our CARL simulator. As the ones using the simulator the most, they are looking at the technology with a different perspective and often see benefits that you may not have been aware!
Pro Tip: At the start of a lesson, spend 5-10 minutes introducing the simulation technology, explaining how it works, and how you'll be making use of it in the lesson. After a bit of experience with the simulator, don’t be surprised if your students are the ones asking to use the technology in and outside of lab time, while sharing fun and interesting things they tried with their first patient.
3. Lesson Feedback
While you can read about recommended lessons and design lesson plans for a simulator, you won't know what works best in your scenario until you give it a try. Lesson plans are, unfortunately, not a direct cut and paste, but require fine tuning for an individual's environment and teaching habits.
Pro Tip: Take an iterative process to lesson design: (1) Prototype a lesson, (2) Share the lesson with other teachers, (3) Get feedback on the lesson from students and teaching assistants, and (4) Continue to refine the lessons. Sure, the first lesson may have some errors to iron out, but each subsequent lesson will get better.
After your first few lessons with this equipment, try handing out a feedback survey to your students, or schedule an 'exit interview' out of the lab.
There are no-doubt internal politics that can get in the way of each of these items, but isn't training the next generation of clinicians (who will be responsible for helping us when we're older) more important? By gaining the buy-in of all faculty members and students, and always improving your own lessons, you will get more use out of the simulators than you originally imagined!
P.S. Want even more out of your lesson plans? SHARE THEM! Be a part of the CARL Community where users can share lesson plans and learn from how others are using their simulator. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to share lessons and pictures of how you're using CARL. On behalf of AHead and all the CARL users around the world, we will sincerely appreciate it and will help with other's implementation!
For more, follow @aheadsim on twitter (https://twitter.com/AHeadSim)