Use of a simulation of the ventilator-patient interaction as an active learning exercise: Comparison with traditional lecture

Robert D. Keegan, Gary R. Brown, Aifang Gordon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Research suggests that simulation technology has potential to enhance student achievement, particularly for students having a preference for hands-on learning. The aim of this study was to compare ventilation learning outcomes in students attending traditional lecture versus students using an active learning ventilation simulation. A computer simulation was developed to advance students' learning of mechanical ventilation. Forty-one students were divided into upper and lower strata based on performance rankings and were then randomly assigned to first complete a simulation scenario or view a lecture. Two distinct ventilation topics, controls and clinical, were developed for each instructional method. Students completed examinations three weeks following each respective instructional intervention (lecture or simulation scenarios) as well as one long-term examination and survey six weeks following the second examination. Upper-ranking students who learned the clinical topic through the simulation scenarios outperformed students who learned by traditional lecture. In addition, upper-ranking students scored higher than lower-ranking students in both the clinical and long-term composite examinations. No differences in student scores attributed to instructional method or class rank were identified for the controls topic. Survey results indicated that students were more engaged as learners when using the simulation and wished to have the simulation available during their clinical intensive care unit (ICU) rotations. Use of the simulation was associated with improved performance of upper-ranking students on the clinical-topic exam and was equivalent to lecture as an instructional intervention on the controls-topic exam. The simulation was perceived as an engaging, desirable tool providing immediate feedback.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)359-367
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Veterinary Medical Education
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • active learning
  • computer simulation
  • education
  • hospitals
  • mechanical
  • medical
  • problem-based learning
  • teaching
  • ventilators

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • veterinary(all)


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