Award Candidate Poster Presentation


Maintaining and Promoting Interest in Online Learning and Virtual Simulation Activities

Tuesday, May 15
09:45 - 10:45
Location: Neptune 1&2

Abstract : Background: Online learning and virtual simulation has been increasingly used in the clinical environment to promote learning for busy clinicians. Online resources are appealing because they are easily available to clinicians at a time convenient to them, and can be used at a clinician’s own pace. The more interactive online learning activities such as virtual simulator or serious gaming, can promote mastery learning and motivate time on task. However, completion of online activities by clinicians on one online learning platform, OPENPediatrics ( has been highly variable.
Research Question: To better understand motivations, successes and barriers for utilizing online learning and virtual simulation activities in clinicians using online curricula, regularly scheduled asynchronous webinars, and virtual device simulators (mechanical ventilation, peritoneal dialysis and hemodialysis simulators).
Proposed Approach to Addressing the Question: For each of the three categories (online curricula, regularly scheduled asynchronous webinars, and virtual device simulators), we will:
1. Describe the strengths and limitations of each activity as it relates to the intended target audience
2. Evaluate at the online completion rates for several activities (individual curriculum or simulators) in each category
3. Conduct/review survey data and focus group evaluations to assess motivations and barriers for completing these activities.
Difficulty Encountered: We have observed variable overall completion rates in an online structured pediatric critical care curriculum amongst residents being asked to complete this curriculum as part of their month-long pediatric medical surgical intensive care rotation. The completion rates have varied widely over the monthly rotations, as well as over years. Additionally, we have identified very high interest and satisfaction with our virtual online simulators, but low overall completion rates of the entire simulators (only 7% of users completed the entire peritoneal dialysis simulator). Identifying possible trends in these types of learning activities may afford an opportunity to extrapolate valuable lessons for the larger online learning community.
Questions for Discussion:
1. What are the motivations for clinicians of all training levels (medical or nursing school, post-graduate training, and continuing education) utilizing online learning activities?
2. What strategies, both based on educational theory and in practice, that can increase interest and retention in clinicians using online learning and virtual simulation for self-directed continuing education activities, as well as when using online activities to supplement education through the “Flipped Classroom” model?

Traci Wolbrink, MD MPH

Associate in Critical Care Medicine
Boston Children's Hospital, Massachusetts


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Dennis Daniel, MD

Assistant in Critical Care Medicine
Boston Children's Hospital

Dr. Dennis Daniel is a Staff Physician in Critical Care Medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital, Instructor in Anesthesia at Harvard Medical School, and Physician Associate at OPENPediatrics. Dr. Daniel's research interests are focused on learning analytics - specifically, on using clinical and educational data sources to identify clinician learning needs, and characterizing learner behaviors in online environments.


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Jo Hegarty, MD, PhD

Starship Child Health, Auckland, New Zealand

Dr Jo Hegarty MB BCh BAO, MRCPCH, FRACP, PhD is a Neonatologist at Starship NICU in Auckland, New Zealand and Co-Chair of the IPSS Education Committee. She is a member of the Starship Hospital Simulation faculty and leads the simulation programme in Starship NICU. Recent initiatives include development of a hospital wide ‘hot debriefing’ project and an interdisciplinary ‘difficult conversations workshop’. Her key simulation interests include education, communication and patient safety.


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Maintaining and Promoting Interest in Online Learning and Virtual Simulation Activities

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