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Teaching & Learning

ISCEEs - Intensive Structured Collaborative Educational Experience

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Many OSCEs can be convereted into an ISCEE session.  An ISCEE is basically an OSCE but with group going around the circuit rather than indviduals.  Hence they all learn from each other.   

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What is an ISCEE?

In an OSCE, individual trainees go around various clinical stations; each station is designed to test a set of competencies.   An ISCEE is similar to an OSCE except that instead of individuals, small groupettes (or a ‘family of learners’) go around the stations.  Each member of the family takes it in turn to have a go at the different stations.  The rest of the ‘siblings’ are there to support and help each other through the exercises (perhaps swapping places at times to demonstrate alternative ways of doing things).  It’s basically a way of doing OSCEs but ensuring a formative (developmental) approach.  It was developed in Bradford by Nick Price.

ISCEE stands for

  • Intensive – because the little groups go around a circuit of educational stations each with its own plethora of learning.
  • Structured – because each station is structured in a specific way with progressive questions to help bring out the learning in a “building-block” way.
  • Collaborative – because the little groups go around together.  Learners learn of each other as questions are posed by the station leader to the group who then encourages a discussion amongst fellow learners.
  • Educational – because all individuals learn something from the stations.  It’s more about them learning rather then testing as in an OSCE.  The questions posed by the station master are designed to encourage thinking and exchange of thoughts than to grill or quiz individuals.
  • Experience – because that is what it is.  An amazing educational experience.

Pros and Cons of ISCEEs & Tips for organising

  • It provides a safe small environment in which members can be open and honest.
  • It’s collaborative and encourages peer-to-peer problem-solving and learning.
  • It’s an active and dynamic way to learn.
  • Stations are based on real-life experiences (e.g. communication skills).
  • Large groups can be accommodated for.  A set of 8 ISCEE stations can easily accommodate 40-48 trainees (whereas 7 OSCE stations can only accommodate 7 trainees at any one time).
  • It takes a lot of work & planning to create ISCEE scenarios – just like OSCEs. You need patient simulator, facilitator and trainee instruction sheets.
  • You need enough breakout rooms for each ISCEE station or alternatively a large hall with enough screens.
  • Using simulated patients and Trainers as assessors means costs can run high.
  • Diversify the groups – balance them in terms of gender, age, ethnicity, ST year and so on.
  • Strict time keeping is essential for its success.   Get someone to ring the bell!

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