Interactive learning program increases MS preparedness

June 17, 2024
A new study suggests that participation in an interactive learning program allows speech-language pathology graduate students to gain crucial knowledge about the fundamentals of multiple sclerosis and their role in caring for a person with MS. Participants showed an increase in their ability to describe basic features and characteristics of the disease.

The focus of the research study at the MGH Institute of Health Professions, in Boston, was to describe a novel, interactive learning program, including clinical simulation, for speech-language pathology graduate students in MS care. Researchers investigated disease-specific knowledge about MS and student clinical self-efficacy related to the MS population before and immediately after the pilot educational program on MS care.

This disease-specific experiential learning program used a framework combining asynchronous learning tools with clinical simulation. With the help of a volunteer patient with MS, the tools provided student clinicians a platform to integrate and apply disorder-specific knowledge within a disease-specific hands-on clinical experience. A group of second-year master’s students in speech-language pathology were recruited for this pilot program. They were surveyed pre- and post-participation to determine if this model assisted in the growth of their knowledge and confidence towards MS care.

Participation in the program allowed students to learn crucial knowledge about the fundamentals of MS and their role as speech-language pathologists in a person with MS’ care. As a result of information within prerecorded learning modules, student participants demonstrated an increase in their ability to describe basic features and characteristics of the disease. Asynchronous opportunities coupled with a clinical simulation component increased overall clinical self-efficacy toward treating an individual with MS and all specific clinical responsibility domains surveyed.

Clinical simulation is a well-documented tool to enhance student learning in academic programs. In speech-language pathology, the clinical simulations often focus on assessment and branch from disorder-specific curriculum embedded in the two-year master’s program. Combining simulated experiences with disease-specific learning content into a single program can provide a straightforward method for exposure to patient populations to which students do not have regular access.

The findings were presented at the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers 38th Annual Meeting, in Nashville, Tenn.

To learn more, contact Stefanie Bohart, SLP.D, CCC-SLP, MSCS at

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