Case Study: Heidelberg University

Sören Huwendiek from Heidelberg University describes how VPs are used in this institution.


The VP system used at Heidelberg University is the CAPUS Virtual Patient system. The CAMPUS VP system consists of an authoring component, two player components to present a case in two different formats and an assessment system.

The authoring system allows easy development of VPs including the possibility to integrate background knowledge (expect comments, links to external resources), different types of questions (multiple choice, long menu, short menu, free text) and media (picture, audio, video) at any point in time and attached to any single item of the case.

A special characteristic of the CAMPUS VP system is that each case can be presented to the student in two different ways, the CAMPUS-Classic Player and the CAMPUS-Card-Player.

While the Classic Player focuses on a very detailed, more simulative, graphically enhanced and authentic VP-environment the Card Player is a more pre-determined, more structured and more text-based interface.

Besides these the Classic Player also features a higher variety of question types.

Undergraduate medical students in their 4th, 5th and 6th years have used CAMPUS VPs.
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Educational Scenarios

The VPs are mainly used in blended-learning scenarios, consisting of small groups working on the VP-cases with a tutor present for questions, followed by a tutor-led discussion of the VP.

The VP are also used as a preparation and wrap-up lectures, seminars and small group sessions and offered for self-study via access through the Heidelberg learning management system AthenaMed.
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Curricula Integration

The VPs are integrated as preparation and wrap-up for lectures, seminars and within tutor-led small group teaching.
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Integration With Other e-Learning Opportunities

The CAMPUS System is fully integrated into te online LMS-system AthenaMed. The VPs include links to Internet resources such as guidelines, media and links to a standard German paediatric textbook, which has been digested for this purpose.
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Technical Integration

Access to the VP-system is managed over the Heidelberg learning management system AthenaMed (SCROM). In addition, there is a timetable for students with descriptions of lectures and seminars. Within these descriptions there are links to relevant and recommended VPs concerning the topic.
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VPs For Assessment

The assessment system embeds many question formats including long menu questions. In addition, it is legally compliant by the use of technical measures (encryption, server mirroring, constant monitoring). It is widely used at our facility.
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Evaluation of VPs

We conducted studies concerning design principles of virtual patients, curricular integration principles of VPs, and VPs as an assessment tool. Most of the studies will be submitted for publication in the very near future.
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Future Plans

Currently VPs in paediatrics, psychiatry, neurology and preclinical specilaities are developed. It is also planned to continue integration of existing VPs into the seminar-preparation/wrap-up context and for preparing for real patients. Furthermore, VPs will be combined with skills training and adapted to training of final year students and for continuing medical education. Update of existing VPs and design of new VPs in paediatrics is also part of our plans.
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Any Advice?

Integrate the VP will into the curriculum and assessment, and cooperate with partners in developing and using VPs.
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