Health Sciences Education Symposium

First Author Information

Benjamin Collins, B.S., Student, VCU School of Medicine

Presentation Format


Type of Activity


Original Presentation Date


Date of Submission

May 2017

Abstract/Short Description

Virtual patients (VPs) are used for developing clinical reasoning which is an area of deficit in medical trainees. There are a number of studies showing that virtual patients have a positive effect on clinical reasoning skills but it remains uncertain how to best design or utilize VPs. Reasons for this include broad definitions of VPs, prior studies with poor descriptions of their design, and few studies looking at which design features are most efficacious. In this study on effective VP design, I outline the direct evidence from prior studies on VPs and indirect evidence from studies of other e-learning methods and educational theory. From this outline, A set of guidelines are proposed for developing VPs and create a blueprint for a design based on these principles.

Purpose/Research Question

To determine which virtual patient design features are effective and create a blueprint based on this information.


Determine effective virtual patient design features

Create a blueprint design for a virtual patient


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VCU Medical Education Symposium