Assessing clinical decision-making skills using a web-based interactive tool

This pilot research project set out to develop an online clinical decision-making maze. The concept...

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Ali Wyllie
9 March 2010

This pilot research project set out to investigate the use of an online decision-making maze tool as a form of eAssessment task more motivating and relevant to practice-based students.The concept to be reusable with different decision-making and problem-solving activities. 

The project was trialled with nursing students who are required to make clinical decisions about patients' health and well-being, responding to changes in a patient's condition which may occur within very small time-frames.

The context built on a realistic clinically-based case study. The approach allowed for exploration and the construction of decisions, based on evidence presented as multiple rich media resources for students to explore.

Options were scaffolded to allow three possible decisions at each decision point with students  justifying their decisions in a reflective log which captured their evidence at each stage.

The case study evolved over time, allowing students to review the results of their decisions at each stage. Students were offered two attempts after which they receive feedback, depending on the route through the maze they have chosen.

The assessment system captures their scores and averages the two attempts in the final feedback. The reflective log acts as a record of their reflections and justifications and has the potential to feed into a qualitative piece of assessment, such as a TMA.  The tool has the additional potential to be used as a collaborative activity with groups of students. 

This approach allows students to construct their view and apply their knowledge in a safe environment where decisions can be rehearsed and explored before application in practice.

You can find out more information and interact with the CDM tool by following the link to our CETL project page. Ali Wyllie and Verina Waights.

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