Virtual Simulation and Content Mastery



Cullinane, Judith, “Virtual Simulation and Content Mastery,” Scholar@Simmons, accessed December 4, 2020,


Virtual Simulation and Content Mastery


Cullinane, Judith




Background: The changing landscape of healthcare and current focus on safe high quality care has prompted close examination of teaching strategies by academic institutions (Hayden, Smiley, Alexander, Kardon-Edgren & Jeffries, 2014). The use of simulation as a teaching strategy has increased in popularity stemming from current evidence demonstrating positive results for meaningful experiential learning, and for being an equitable alternative for clinical experiences due to limited availability of clinical site placement (Adamson, 2015; Bogossian, Cooper, Cant, Porter & Forbes, 2015; Hayden et al., 2014; National League for Nursing, 2015).

Purpose: The purpose of this study was 1). to evaluate the use of virtual simulation compared to concept mapping for content mastery of a nursing topic and 2). to evaluate whether content mastery using virtual simulation compared to concept mapping is transferable to a practice setting.

Methods:Twenty-eight undergraduate prelicensure nursing students were recruited to participate from two colleges and randomly assigned to a control group using concept mapping and an experimental group using virtual simulation. Each group completed a pre- post quiz on asthma prior to and after the intervention. Following the post quiz, both groups completed the Healthcare Professional Asthma Knowledge Questionnaire. Subjects in each group participated in a standardized patient education simulation on the topic asthma and the use of the patient education framework Teach-Back.
Results: The Healthcare Professional Asthma Knowledge Questionnaire was found to have a strong reliability in nursing students as noted by the Cronbach’s alpha of 0.730. Findings revealed no statistically significant difference in mean asthma knowledge scores between the control and experimental groups. There was also no statistically significant difference between the mean teach back score and the groups. A statistically significant difference in the change in mean CQ correct scores were found to be higher in the concept map group, demonstrating a p = .05.

Conclusion: Both treatment groups demonstrated improvement in scores with almost identical means observed between students in both groups. This finding suggests that virtual simulation may be comparable to concept mapping as a teaching strategy for achieving student outcomes.


Simmons College (Boston, Mass.)


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Doctoral Dissertation