The introduction and effectiveness of simulation-based learning in medical education

Intern Med. 2009;48(17):1515-9. doi: 10.2169/internalmedicine.48.2373. Epub 2009 Sep 1.


Objective: To contribute to reforming the medical education system in Japan, we visited overseas medical schools and observed the methods utilized in medical education.

Materials and methods: We visited 28 medical schools and five institutes in the United States, Europe, Australia and Asia in 2008. We met deans and specialists in medical affairs and observed the medical schools' facilities.

Results: Among the several effective educational methods used in overseas medical schools, simulation-based learning was being used in all that we visited. Simulation-based learning is used to promote medical students' mastery of communication skills, medical interviewing, physical examination and basic clinical procedures. Students and tutors both recognize the effectiveness of simulation-based learning in medical education.

Conclusion: In contrast to overseas medical schools, simulation-based learning is not common in Japan. There remain many barriers to introduce simulation-based education in Japan, such as a shortage of medical tutors, staff, mannequins and budget. However, enhancing the motivation of tutors is likely the most important factor to facilitate simulation-based education in Japanese medical schools to become common place.

Publication types

  • Portrait
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Competence / standards
  • Computer Simulation* / standards
  • Curriculum / standards
  • Education, Medical / methods*
  • Education, Medical / standards
  • Humans
  • Learning*
  • Patient Simulation*
  • Schools, Medical / standards