Simulation-Based Learning Program

The simulation-based learning program was developed as part of the 'Embedding Simulation in Clinical Training in Speech Pathology' research project (2014-2018) led by Dr Anne Hill at The University of Queensland. The project was supported by funding from the Australian Government, Department of Health, under the Simulated Learning Environments Program. Speech Pathology Australia, as the funded organisation, subcontracted The University of Queensland to lead this project.

A collaborative of six Australian universities were involved in a randomised controlled trial (RCT) to determine whether students could achieve a comparable level of competency if a portion of their traditional clinical placement was replaced with simulated learning activities. The results of the RCT indicated that student competency outcomes were similar in both traditional placements and placements which included the Simulation-based Learning Program. These results were achieved when the full 5 day program outlined below was implemented. Competency outcomes for students following participation in parts of the Simulation Program only are as yet unknown. Research outcomes from the simulation project are being prepared for publication.

Resources developed for the Simulation-based Learning Program are provided below for use by other organisations looking to embed simulation into their programs. These resources are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License . Organisations are free to copy, communicate and adapt the work for non-commercial purposes provided they credit the authors of the work, attribute Speech Pathology Australia and comply with other notice requirements set out under the license. The appropriate citation for the resources is available on the inside front page of each resource. Questions regarding the resources or project in general can be directed to Dr Anne Hill.


The Simulation-based Learning Program was designed as a 5 day learning program. The program can be conducted over consecutive or non-consecutive days. While the program was designed to build student competency in an integrated manner over the five days, individual simulations can be used as discrete components and the program's delivery can be customised to suit organisation's needs. Resources were developed to assist implementation for all components of the program including student and clinical educator workbooks, clinical educator and simulated patient training guides, a simulated learning environment set up guide and administrative guides for university faculty. All resources are available below.

Program overview and timetable

This document provides information about the background to simulation in speech pathology and the research project. It also provides a timetable for the 5 day program.

Student workbooks

Student workbooks are provided to students each day. These workbooks include details of the simulations, pre and post simulation activities, structured observation worksheets and literature references. They also include assessment and therapy resources that can be used by the students during the simulation activities.

Clinical educator workbooks

Clinical educator workbooks for the five days of the Simulation-based Learning Program should be provided to the clinical educator prior to the program commencing (ideally during training). These workbooks include details of the simulations, student learning objectives for each simulation and frameworks for simulation de-briefing.

A customised training workbook has been developed to assist university staff members when training clinical educators to conduct the Simulation-based Learning Program. The training workbook provides background information on the simulated learning environment and teaching principles of simulation. It also provides detailed information on each simulation.

Clinical educator training workbook

Simulated patient training workbooks

Workbooks have been developed to assist with training the simulated patients used in the Simulation-based Learning Program. These workbooks provide an overview of simulation and related research as well as detailed character information. In some instances, they provide specific instructions on patient presentation.

Simulation environment

A guide has been developed to assist with creating the simulation environment. It provides information on recommended and suggested furniture, resources and other props to promote authenticity within each simulation activity.

Simulation set up guide

Resources that can be printed to assist with creating the acute or rehabilitation setting are provided below:

Resources for an acute hospital setting

Resources for a rehabilitation hospital setting

Patient medical files

Documentation to create patient medical files for use during the Simulation-based Learning Program have been developed. These include admission details forms, progress notes, MRI reports (where relevant) and formal assessment forms and reports.

Administrative/ organisational documents

Daily Simulation Program resource requirements - this document provides a list of things that are required to run each day of the Simulation Program.

Simulation Program overview for traditional clinical educators - this document has been developed for clinical educators who will receive students following completion of the Simulation Program. It provides them with an overview of each simulation, student learning objectives and skills targeted. It also gives a brief overview of the simulation learning process.

Simulated patient requirements - this document can be used to assist when booking actors/ people to portray the simulated patients in the Simulation Program. It is also useful for budgeting purposes. It indicates the number of hours required for each simulated patient according to the number of units being run. In the research project, a 'unit' consisted of 6-8 students and 1 clinical educator.