Virtual Simulation in Undergraduate Medical Education: A Scoping Review of Recent Practice

Front Med (Lausanne). 2022 Mar 30;9:855403. doi: 10.3389/fmed.2022.855403. eCollection 2022.


Virtual simulation (VS) as an emerging interactive pedagogical strategy has been paid more and more attentions in the undergraduate medical education. Because of the fast development of modern computer simulation technologies, more and more advanced and emerging VS-based instructional practices are constantly increasing to promote medical education in diverse forms. In order to describe an overview of the current trends in VS-based medical teaching and learning, this scoping review presented a worldwide analysis of 92 recently published articles of VS in the undergraduate medical teaching and learning. The results indicated that 98% of included articles were from Europe, North America, and Asia, suggesting a possible inequity in digital medical education. Half (52%) studies reported the immersive virtual reality (VR) application. Evidence for educational effectiveness of VS in medical students' knowledge or skills was sufficient as per Kirkpatrick's model of outcome evaluation. Recently, VS has been widely integrated in surgical procedural training, emergency and pediatric emergency medicine training, teaching of basic medical sciences, medical radiation and imaging, puncture or catheterization training, interprofessional medical education, and other case-based learning experiences. Some challenges, such as accessibility of VS instructional resources, lack of infrastructure, "decoupling" users from reality, as well as how to increase students' motivation and engagement, should be addressed.

Keywords: computer simulation; simulation-based learning; undergraduate medical education; virtual reality; virtual simulation.

Publication types

  • Review