Background: The Stanford Faculty Development Center at Stanford University has developed a teaching improvement course for medical teachers that has been widely disseminated using a train-the-trainer model.
Aims: This study was designed to investigate the relative impact of role playing as an instructional technique within that course for facilitating change in teaching behaviours.
Method: From January 2009 to April 2010, six faculty development courses were delivered at Uppsala University Hospital to 48 physicians from different departments. The standard course presentation includes a range of instructional methods including short lectures, small group discussion, review of video re-enactments, role-play exercises and personal goal setting. For this study, participants were randomised to participate in (1) a 'standard' course with role play or (2) an 'alternative' course with no role play. The effects of the course on teaching performance were assessed with retrospective pre- and post-course self-ratings of 29 specific teaching behaviours.
Results: Self-assessment ratings indicated significantly greater positive changes in teaching behaviour among faculty who attended the standard course (with role play) as compared to those in the alternative course (p=0.015).
Conclusions: This study validates the commonly held view that role play is a useful instructional method for improving teaching.
2012. Vol. 34, no 2, E123-E128 p.