Assessing decision-making in healthcare practice using a web-based interactive tool

Waights, Verina (2009). Assessing decision-making in healthcare practice using a web-based interactive tool. In: Association for Medical Education in Europe, 29 Aug - 02 Sep 2009, Malaga Spain.



OSCEs assess student competence without compromising patient safety but opportunities for formative assessment may be restricted. eLearning can increase formative and summative assessment opportunities but many assignments use multiple choice, which alone may be limited when assessing healthcare practitioners’ decisions regarding patients’ health. These decisions are strongly influenced by context.

This pilot study assesses students’ decision-making skills using a context-driven simulation decision tool that draws on practice to ensure validity and provides evaluative individualized feedback on students’ progress. The tool was piloted with volunteer nursing students who completed an online questionnaire.

The findings suggest students’ decision-making skills improve and they find the tool valuable for self-assessment and feel better prepared for practice. The findings also support Boud and Prosser’s principles for fostering high quality learning.

This tool allows assessment to occur in context, over time and at a distance, and provides an innovative approach to assessing complexity in professional practice. A recent review of eLearning in medical education has shown few studies are evaluated, so this study makes a useful contribution. It demonstrates that virtual environments are an effective learning tool, which can be tailored to a variety of settings, making them valuable resources in education for healthcare professionals worldwide.

Keywords: simulation decision-making eLearning computer-based assessment

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