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  • Writer's pictureConstance Burns

Role Playing Lesson Modules

Updated: Jun 3, 2021

Two doctor/patient role playing learning modules were requested by an English language school in Tokyo, Japan. The school prepares international medical school graduates and practicing doctors for the U.S. Medical Licensing Exam (USMLE), which will allow them to apply for medical residencies in the United States. New materials were needed to cover a recently added section to the USMLE exam, which focuses on advanced Communication and Interpersonal Skills (CIS) for complex medical cases.

The school requested two role-playing exercises for the doctors (played by the students) and the patients (played by English instructors). The learning materials provide background medical information on the simulated patient, the diagnosis, and a complex issue to discuss with the patient (i.e. bad news/diagnosis, explaining complex treatments, addiction counseling, etc...). The materials also offer support to the student on expected physician soft-skill behaviors (empathy, partnership, support, counseling, etc...), which they were required to exhibit while working with the simulated patient on these complex medical cases. Example scripts are included in the package, along with instructional scaffolding in the right-hand margins of the scripts. The scripts model how the advanced CIS skills could be used in a real-world scenario, as well as why the skills are useful in providing care for and communicating with patients.

Additional materials were created for the instructors to guide them through how to conduct this new role playing format in the classroom. As this was a pilot program, we also wanted to collect information on how successful these new learning modules were in helping the students learn the new expected behaviors. Thus, evaluation materials for critiquing the new learning exercises were provided to both the instructors and the students, using the Kirkpatrick 4-Levels of Evaluation model. Learning evaluations for the instructors to measure student learning were included in the evaluation package.

The following video provides a brief overview of this project:


Sample screenshots from a portion of the role-playing vignette (the full versions are downloadable below the screenshot):

Learning goals and objectives section:

Role playing scenario introduction:

The following two documents are the classroom materials for the two role-playing exercises, which are downloadable and in an Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) format:

Complex CIS Pilot Test - AMBOSS Case 19
Download • 1.02MB

Complex CIS Pilot Test - First Aid Case
Download • 943KB


The following three documents are intended for the instructors, they include:

  • The "Workshop Agenda and Facilitator's Guide", which is intended to help the instructors implement the lesson in the classroom

  • A supplemental "Complex CIS Evaluation Guide" to aid the instructor in evaluating the students on their performance in the lesson

  • A mock-up of the format for the Pilot Test Training Evaluation Report

Workshop Agenda and Facilitator's Guide
Download • 837KB

Complex CIS Evaluation Guide
Download PDF • 385KB

Training Evaluation Report
Download PDF • 1.01MB


The following .pdf file is the Design Document and a Rough Prototype of the role-playing exercise, which demonstrates my process for creating complex projects.

Design Documents and Rough Prototypes
Download PD • 354KB

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