#OTalk Tuesday 8th March 2022 – Simulated practice-based learning: the perceived value in supporting placement capacity?  

This week is hosted by @CarolynHay Pre-registration Education Manager at RCOT, with @Ruth_Hawley on the @OTalk_ account.  We’re going to talk about simulated practice-based learning (PBL).  

Simulated practice-based learning (limited to 40 hours within the minimum 1000 hours of successfully completed PBL) was incorporated into RCOT’s 2019 version of the Learning and development standards for pre-registration education.  At that time, there was limited use of simulation within placement related activities.  In fact, it was questioned why this addition was even needed.  

Not very many months later, a global pandemic prompted rapid and significant changes in the way practice-based learning needed to be delivered and supported.  Today there’s lots of discussion about whether 40 hours is enough! So, it would be great tonight to gain an understanding of your perceptions and experiences of simulation and in particular, simulation within practice-based learning.  

Let’s start at the beginning thinking about how your experiences of simulated practice-based learning.  Have you participated in simulated PBL as a learner, a person who uses occupational therapy services, or as an educator?

Simulation is defined by Bennett et al (2017 p314.) as ‘an education technique that recreates all or part of a clinical experience’.  RCOT’s Learning and development standards (2019) incorporate Reed’s work into their definition: ‘Artificially constructed environments designed to represent realistic scenarios that provide opportunities for learners to practise clinical and decision-making skills within a safe environment. It allows for repetition, feedback, evaluation and reflection, with examples including video based learning, role-playing interactions, scenarios where learners or others act as the person receiving occupational therapy services, scenarios using professionally trained actors, and the use of high-fidelity manikins (Reed 2014).’   What do you think are the defining characteristics of simulated PBL?

We know that students ‘find simulation to be a positive experience’ (Grant et al 2021 p354) but what support might students need to translate this simulated learning into practice?  And as those involved in supporting this learning within future placements, or as an employer of new graduates, what are your development needs?

Our final question is broad – what do you think the future of simulated practice-based learning could be within pre-registration education? There is, to date, limited research exploring simulated PBL beyond the learner experience and therefore limited evidence to support increasing the current maximum of 40 hours of simulated practice-based learning within the Learning and development standards (RCOT 2019).  What are your thoughts in relation to this?

We’ll use the following questions to prompt thinking during our hour together:

  1. Have you participated/experienced simulated practice-based learning? In what ways? (86)
  2. What do you think the defining characteristics are of simulated practice-based learning? (91)
  3. What support is needed for learners in translating learning from simulated practice-based learning into practice? (117)
  4. What support is needed for practice educators and employers of newly registered occupational therapists in translating learning from simulated practice-based learning into practice? (185)
  5. We know that learners find simulation a positive experience – what do you think the future of simulated practice-based learning could be within pre-registration education? (175)


Grant T, Thomas Y, Gossman P, Berragan (2021) The use of simulation in occupational therapy education: A scoping review. Australian Occupational Therapy Journal. Available at: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1440-1630.12726  

Reed HE (2014) An examination of critical thinking skills in traditional and simulated environments for occupational therapy students. Doctor of Education Leadership (EdLD). San Diego, CA: San Diego State University. Available at: https://sdsu-dspace.calstate.edu/ bitstream/handle/10211.3/137693/Reed_sdsu_0220D_10629.pdf?sequence=1 Accessed on 13.03.19.

Royal College of Occupational Therapists (2019) Learning and development standards for pre-registration education. London: RCOT. Available at: https://www.rcot.co.uk/practice-resources/rcot-publications/learning-and-development-standards-pre-registration-education  Accessed on 14.04.21


Host:   @CarolynHay Pre-registration Education Manager at RCOT,

Support on OTalk Account: @Ruth_Hawley

Evidence your CPD. If you joined in this chat you can download the below transcript as evidence for your CPD, but remember the HCPC are interested in what you have learnt.  So why not complete one of our reflection logs to evidence your learning?https://otalk.co.uk/reflection-logs/

HCPC Standards for CPD.

  • Maintain a continuous, up-to-date and accurate record of their CPD activities.
  • Demonstrate that their CPD activities are a mixture of learning activities relevant to current or future practice.
  • Seek to ensure that their CPD has contributed to the quality of their practice and service delivery.
  • Seek to ensure that their CPD benefits the service user.
  • Upon request, present a written profile (which must be their own work and supported by evidence) explaining how they have met the Standards for CPD.

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