MSHE Student to Present Master's Project at National Conference

MSHE Student to Present Master's Project at National Conference

By Derek Thurber
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Pictured: Derek Thurber presenting his master's project at the annual MSHE poster session. 

I became interested in my master's project topic from the perspective of game-based learning initiatives broadly. Having gotten my toes wet developing an online tutor training using basic game-based learning strategies for interactivity as part of my AmeriCorps VISTA project at Riverland Community College the year before, I was interested in exploring a topic related to innovative, technology-enhanced learning strategies. I ended up with my study into simulations at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine (Feinberg) based on information interviews conducted during the first part of the Master's Project Sequence (MSHE 406), where I learned about simulation-based medical education at Feinberg and gained access to the simulation lab for my research.

Given this area of interest, my master's project explored what characteristics make simulation-based medical education successful and how simulations can be examined for scalability in similar ways to other types of game-based learning innovations. Simulation based learning has been used for years with positive outcomes in select schools and disciplines such as medical education. However, despite researched benefits, simulation based learning programs have not, by and large, been scaled to other settings. Thus, overall, my question focused on scalability based on a combination of the type of data and access I had and the result of finding gaps in the literature based on preliminary research into my topic for my literature review.

Ultimately, I crafted my study to use an artifact analysis, interviews with faculty and administrators, and observations at one model simulation-based medical education program at Feinberg. Several key findings from this data collection in combination with my literature review informed a proposed new framework for assessing scalability for simulation-based learning based on dimensions of depth, sustainability, spread, and transfer of ownership for scale. I will be presenting this proposed new framework at the Tech-ED conference sponsored by the American Educational Research Association (AERA) at Washington State University in October 2015.

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