A pilot study of interprofessional case discussions for health professions students using the virtual world Second Life

Teresa M. Seefeldt, Jane R. Mort, Barbara Brockevelt, Jarod Giger, Becca Jordre, Michael Lawler, Wade Nilson, Lana Svien

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Objectives To evaluate the effectiveness of a virtual world, Second Life (Linden Labs; http://secondlife.com ), in interprofessional case discussions for health professions students. Methods Students from pharmacy, nursing, physician assistant, physical therapy, and occupational therapy programs used Second Life to conduct hour-long interprofessional discussions of a mock patient case. The sessions were facilitated by a pharmacy faculty member. Pre- and post-activity surveys evaluated students' opinions on the use of Second Life for interprofessional education (IPE). Results Forty-seven students participated in one of the nine interprofessional team meetings with participants located in any of four cities. Group size ranged from four to seven students. All students completed the pre- and post-activity surveys. The students had favorable impressions of the activity with 60% of the participants agreeing or strongly agreeing that Second Life was an effective method of conducting IPE. In addition, a larger percentage of students clearly identified important characteristics of an effective interprofessional team after the virtual IPE. Students cited convenience, flexibility, the ability to discuss the case in real-time with other students, and the interactive nature of the session as the major advantages to the use of Second Life. Technical issues were the most commonly reported challenges in using Second Life. Conclusions This pilot study demonstrated that Second Life can be an effective option for interprofessional case discussions, although continued efforts to minimize technical challenges are needed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)224-231
Number of pages8
JournalCurrents in Pharmacy Teaching and Learning
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding for this project was provided by a South Dakota State University Active Learning (AL) Cloud Grant.


  • Interprofessional education
  • Second life
  • Simulation
  • Virtual world

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics
  • Pharmacy


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