Experiential Learning Cycles as an Effective Means for Teaching Psychiatric Clinical Skills via Repeated Simulation in the Psychiatry Clerkship

Eric G. Meyer*, Alexis Battista, John M. Sommerfeldt, James C. West, Derrick Hamaoka, Kelly L. Cozza

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Objective: This retrospective study compares differences in clinical performance on the psychiatry clerkship Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) between students receiving traditional repeated clinical simulation with those receiving repeated clinical simulation using the Kolb Cycle. Methods: Psychiatry clerkship OSCE scores from 321 students who completed their psychiatry clerkship in 2016 and 2017 were compared. Specific performance measures included communication skills as determined by the Essential Elements of Communication, gathering a history, documenting a history and mental status exam, defending a differential diagnosis, and proposing a treatment plan. Results were calculated using repeated two-way analysis of variance between students receiving no simulation and traditional repeated simulation training (TRS) as compared to students receiving no simulation and repeated simulation utilizing the Kolb cycle (KRS). Results: Students who received KRS performed significantly better in three of the five components of the clerkship OSCE as compared to students who received TRS. Specifically, students who received KRS performed better on gathering a history (+ 14.1%, p < 0.001), documenting a history (+ 13.4%, p < 0.001), and developing a treatment plan (+ 16.7%, p < 0.001). There were no significant differences in communication skills or in developing and defending a differential diagnosis. Conclusions: Psychiatry clerkship students engaged in repeated simulations explicitly integrated with the Kolb cycle demonstrate improved clinical skills as measured by OSCE performance. Integration of the Kolb cycle in designing simulation experiences should be carefully considered and may serve as a model for individualized coaching in programs of assessment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)150-158
Number of pages9
JournalAcademic Psychiatry
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Communication
  • Kolb
  • Psychiatry
  • Self-regulated learning
  • Simulation


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