Maudsley Simulation has successfully pivoted to digital delivery of mental health simulation-based education (SBE) and developed a growing portfolio of digital courses, having trained over 2,000 participants online since 2020. During this time, the team have identified new training needs for faculty and technicians, to successfully adapt to online delivery of SBE. The Moderator-Technician role has emerged as essential in managing the many challenges relating to participant engagement, which is crucial to success and long-term knowledge retention . These challenges include infrastructure availability, online comfort, and creating a psychologically safe space.
To reduce the technical burden during courses, there was a front-loading of responsibility to participants by specifying the technical requirements by email in advance. This pre-course intervention also ensured specialist access needs could be met, such as implementing live captioning for a hearing-impaired participant. Moderator-Technicians played an active and assertive role during digital deliveries and were responsible for welcoming participants and delivering a platform orientation and troubleshooting session. Participants were supported with Audio-Visual connectivity, which helped to ensure that technical issues did not derail the fluency of the delivery. The process of building psychological safety and creating online comfort was also an important component of the introductory session, which included talking participants through online etiquette, the importance of visibility, recording of the session, and use of direct message functionality within the Zoom platform. The limitations of online training were also acknowledged. Course participants were asked to complete pre- and post-course evaluation forms which included quantitative feedback on the technical components of online simulation courses.
The end of day participant feedback was overwhelmingly positive about the online experience. Out of 332 participants, 95% reported benefits of having a Moderator-Technician, with emerging qualitative themes around finding it easier to engage due to clear guidance from the Moderator. A total of 94% reported a good experience in terms of platform accessibility.
Online simulation has emerged as a valuable modality for mental health simulation-based education (SBE) and the Moderator-Technician role has proven to be indispensable in maximising engagement and reducing cognitive load for facilitators. Further research is needed to assess the value of the Moderator-Technician role in online simulation. Moderator-Technicians should continue to harness new technologies to further enhance engagement and support sustainability. For example, trialling the use of mixed modality simulation through hybrid learning delivery.
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