Students’ Perceptions of Simulation-Based Learning in Speech Pathology: A Pilot Study




clinical education, simulation, simulation-based learning, speech pathology, student learning


Due to increased student numbers and workforce limitations, speech pathology students have fewer opportunities to develop skills in working with adult populations in traditional clinical placements.  Using simulation-based learning has proven to be advantageous in other disciplines. The use of simulation to develop clinical skills in speech pathology range of practice areas, including speech, language and swallowing in adults, has been less well researched. The aim of this study was to investigate students’ overall perceptions about simulation-based learning, particularly their confidence related to specific clinical skills and perceived anxiety about working with adult clients. Six final year speech pathology students enrolled in either a 4-year undergraduate or 2.5-year masters program participated in this research. Students engaged in five simulation-based learning activities across one day. Purposefully developed pre- and post- surveys were completed to explore students’ anxiety levels and perceptions of confidence regarding clinical skills across domains of foundation knowledge, case history, assessment, intervention, interaction and clinical reasoning, and anxiety levels. The Satisfaction with Simulation Experience (SSE) Scale was completed post-simulation experience. Students also participated in a focus group discussion following the simulation experience. Student median ratings of clinical skills improved from pre- to post-simulation across the six domains. All students reported that the simulation-based learning experience was valuable and reported increased levels of confidence and enhanced preparedness for their clinical placements. Findings from this study suggested that students value simulation-based learning and future research should explore learning outcomes from a longer, more intensive simulation program.

Author Biographies

Adriana Penman, The University of Queensland

Adriana Penman is a Lecturer in Speech Pathology in the Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences at The University of Queensland, Australia. She is an experienced speech pathologist with clinical experience both within tertiary hospital and private settings. Adriana is currently enrolled in a PhD investigating the use of simulation to prepare students for clinical practice. She is an active researcher in stuttering across the lifespan and within the realm of teaching and student learning practices.

Anne E Hill, The University of Queensland

Dr Anne Hill is a Senior Lecturer in Speech Pathology in the Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences at The University of Queensland, Australia. She is a speech pathologist with extensive clinical experience in a range of contexts. She is an active researcher in teaching and learning practices associated with students in the health sciences and has a keen interest in the areas of simulation pedagogy, interprofessional education and students’ development of cultural responsiveness through their clinical practice.

Sally Hewat, The University of Newcastle

A/Prof Sally Hewat is Head of Speech Pathology at the University of Newcastle, Australia. Sally is recognised nationally and internationally as an academic leader in the preparation of students for speech pathology practice. She has a particular research interest in the disorder of stuttering. However, more recently she has focused on speech pathology in majority world countries, intercultural practice and education, clinical education, simulated learning and curriculum development. 

Nerina Scarinci, The University of Queensland

Dr Nerina Scarinci is Head of Speech Pathology and Program Director for the Master of Speech Pathology Studies (MSpPathSt) program in the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences at The University of Queensland. She is a Senior Member of the Communication Disability Centre and a Chief Investigator for the HEARing Cooperative Research Centre (CRC). Her research interests are in paediatric and adult hearing impairment, communication disability, International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF), third-party disability, family-centred care and early intervention.


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How to Cite

Penman, A., Hill, A. E., Hewat, S., & Scarinci, N. (2020). Students’ Perceptions of Simulation-Based Learning in Speech Pathology: A Pilot Study. International Journal of Practice-Based Learning in Health and Social Care, 8(1), 1–14.

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