Using a Lego-based communications simulation to introduce medical students to patient-centered interviewing

Teach Learn Med. 2001 Spring;13(2):130-5. doi: 10.1207/S15328015TLM1302_8.


Purpose: Teaching patient-centered interviewing skills to medical students can be challenging. We have observed that 1st-year medical students, in particular, do not feel free to concentrate on the interviewing skills because they are preoccupied with complicated technical medical knowledge. The Lego simulation we use with our 1st-year students as part of a professional-skills course overcomes that difficulty.

Summary: The Lego activity is a role play analogous to a doctor-patient interview that uses identical sets of Legos for the "doctor" and for the "patients" and a small construction that represents a patient history.

Conclusions: With a simple questionnaire, data were collected from students at different points during instruction. Results indicate that the Lego activity was very effective in helping students learn the importance of open-ended questioning. It also was rated as highly as the very dynamic interactive part of the instructional session. The effectiveness of the Lego activity may be due to the properties of analogies.

MeSH terms

  • Canada
  • Communication*
  • Education, Medical / methods*
  • Humans
  • Medical History Taking / methods*
  • Patient Simulation
  • Patient-Centered Care*
  • Physician-Patient Relations*
  • Play and Playthings*
  • Role Playing
  • Students, Medical / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Teaching / methods