Simulation can replace part of speech-language pathology placement time: A randomised controlled trial

Anne E. Hill, Elizabeth Ward, Robert Heard, Sue McAllister, Patricia McCabe, Adriana Penman, Emma Caird, Danielle Aldridge, Stacey Baldac, Elizabeth Cardell, Rachel Davenport, Bronwyn Davidson, Sally Hewat, Simone Howells, Alison Purcell, Joanne Walters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Simulation is increasingly used within speech-language pathology education. Research has primarily explored students’ perceptions of learning in simulation. The aim of this study was to determine if speech-language pathology students achieved a statistically-equivalent level of competency when a mean of 20% of placement time was replaced with simulation compared to placements without a simulation component. Method: This non-inferiority randomised controlled trial involved students from six Australian universities. Students were randomised to either a simulation + traditional placement group attending 5 days of simulation prior to their traditional placement, or a traditional only placement group. Their end-placement clinical competency was assessed using Competency Assessment in Speech Pathology (COMPASS®). Result: Final data were available for 325 students: 150 students in traditional placements, 138 students in protocol-compliant simulation + traditional placements, and 37 students in non-protocol simulation + traditional placements. There were no statistically significant differences between groups (traditional vs protocol-compliant simulation + traditional Mann–Whitney–Wilcoxon z = 1.23, df = 286, p = 0.22; traditional vs intention-to-treat simulation + traditional Mann–Whitney–Wilcoxon z = 0.23, df = 323, p = 0.81). Conclusion: This research contributes to the evidence base which suggests that simulation can partially replace traditional placement time for speech-language pathology students without loss of competency, substantiating its value as an alternative placement model in speech-language pathology programmes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)92-102
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Speech-Language Pathology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • competency
  • randomised controlled trial
  • replacement
  • Simulation
  • speech-language pathology
  • students


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