CASUS is a web-based software package for authoring and delivering case-based learning based on a pedagogical concept developed by the Medical Education unit at the LMU since and the Instruct company.
CASUS virtual patients (VP) have been well integrated into the curricula at different faculties in Europe and the US, including paediatrics, internal medicine, surgery, occupational medicine, neurology faculties, and many more.
Most often the VPs are implemented as self-directed learning modules, but other scenarios are possible as well.CASUS VPs have even been developed by students as a learning-by teaching activity, and key-feature VPs are often used as assessment tools, like, for example a computer-based OSCE station about auscultation skills.
What is a CASUS VP?
A medical CASUS VP usually presents the story of a real patient history organized in didactic units with findings and management. This linear approach reflects established clinical practice.
Each case comprises about five (short case) to 25 (long case) screen cards. Each card represents a variable combination of text elements with hyperlinks, multimedia material, expert comments for additional information and most importantly interactive elements such as different question types with immediate evaluation of student responses and a detailed answer comment.
If enabled by the teacher, students can contact the case author via asynchronous communication and discuss questions and problems they encountered while working through the VP. At the end of each case an online questionnaire enables students to evaluate the case.
The CASUS system is organized in four major web-based components:
- Player component – students’ interface to access virtual patients
- Authoring system for creating the VPs without any programming skills
- Administration tool to create, manage and evaluate courses
- Continuing medical education (CME) platform
Since not only the didactical integration of e-learning material is important, but also the technical aspect is crucial, CASUS has implemented standard interfaces (like AICC-SCORM, Shibboleth).
This allows a SingleSignOn integration of the player component into virtual learning environments (VLE) like for example moodle. Moreover the implemented Medbiquitous Virtual Patient (MVP) standard allows content exchange with other VP systems.
By Inga Hege, Medical Education Unit, LMU Munich