Preparing to Work Together: Interprofessional Education via Online Simulated Case-Based Learning

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What was your TDG project about? Please briefly introduce your project and share with us how it had an impact on student learning.

We worked on a TDG project to develop inter-professional education (IPE) for students who are training to work in educational settings. IPE is an educational practice that “occurs when students from two or more professions learn about, from and with each other to enable effective collaboration and improved health outcomes” (World Health Organization, 2010, p. 10). There is a need for professionals in educational settings (e.g. teachers, speech therapists, social workers) to use their collective knowledge to provide an optimal plan of care for students with Special Education Needs (SEN). IPE has been developed for some programs at HKU that work within the medical setting but we saw a need to develop IPE for educational settings.

We developed a course and e-learning resources to establish interprofessional education in our speech-language therapy program at HKU. The instructional design integrated case-based simulation and reflective exercises, which was facilitated using online teaching via Zoom breakout rooms. Recorded interviews of professionals who work with children with SEN were used to describe the professional roles & responsibilities and barriers and success stories of interprofessional practice in educational settings. The delivery of the course online facilitated the small group simulations and discussion, as well as a cross-program lesson with undergraduate students from pre-service speech therapy and kindergarten teacher training programs.

This TDG project demonstrates the feasibility of the online mode of this IPE course to train pre-service professionals who will serve children with SEN in educational settings. In addition, the project has impacted students learning across programs because the e-learning resources developed with this TDG have been used by a few programs in the Faculty of Education. The simulation cases are available to HKU staff on the TDG Resources Hub:

Please share the one or two challenges (if any) that you encountered in your TDG project. How did you overcome them?

We originally planned for our project and teaching to be conducted face-to-face. Therefore, we needed to be flexible when our project plans were disturbed by the COVID-19 pandemic. We conducted interviews of the professionals via Zoom, rather than in a recording studio on campus. We adopted the Zoom platform for class, as the use of breakout rooms allowed us to continue to run the simulation exercises as planned. Though we needed to be flexible in adapting our plans, we were pleasantly surprised to find some benefits with the online mode.

If you can rewind back time, is there anything you would want to change in your TDG project?

We would have had added a research focus to the project to allow for scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL). We had a strong focus on the teaching and learning aspect of this project, so we gathered useful information from students before, during, and after the to document their learning. This information guided our review of the new course and allowed us to complete the TDG report. However, if we were to do anything differently with our project, we would have applied for research ethics so we could use that student data for SoTL.

What are your key takeaways from this TDG project?

Students cherish the opportunity to work with other pre-service professionals, so we can see the value in sprinkling in opportunities for students to engage in interprofessional educations throughout the curriculum. As university educators, we may focus on large curriculum changes; however, those large changes can be delayed or difficult to implement with rigid curriculum, limits on class time, scheduling, or teacher’s workload. However, we observed when our students have even one session working with other pre-professional there can be fruitful learning. Therefore, a key takeaway for us is that meaningful learning opportunities can be integrated into the curriculum that are one-off activities or sessions. We can start small and scale up to integrate IPE. We extend an invitation to other colleagues who train students to work in education settings to join us in developing IPE across relevant programs.


We would like to express our gratitude to:

  • The professionals in the community who generously shared their time and wisdom with us via the interviews.
  • TELI for the development of the online platform to host our e-learning resources.
  • The undergraduate student helpers who conducted interviews and edited videos.
  • Last but not least, the funding support from the University of Hong Kong for this TDG.

TDG Investigators:

Dr. Elizabeth Barrett

Dr. Elizabeth Barrett

Senior Lecturer and Assistant Dean of Learning and Teaching
Faculty of Education, HKU

She is the Faculty’s Academic Advising and First Year Experience coordinator. Elizabeth teaches students who are training to become speech therapists or early childhood educators. She teaches courses that cover evidence-based practice and child development in the areas of cognition, language, and multilingualism. Elizabeth was awarded the University Early Career Teaching Award (2018); Faculty Outstanding Teaching Team Award (2017); and Faculty Early Career Teaching Award (2016). She is also a Fellow of the Advance HE.

Dr. Patcy Yeung

Dr. Patcy Yeung

Associate Professor, Faculty of Education, HKU
Director, Centre for Advancement in Inclusive and Special Education (CAISE)

Her research focuses on the links between cognitive-linguistic skills and reading and writing development among Chinese children with and without developmental dyslexia. Her research also examines reading and writing motivation in Chinese children and adolescents, learning experience of students with visual impairment in higher education and the role of leadership in inclusive education and diversity management. Patcy was awarded with the Outstanding Teaching Award in 2018.

Dr. Anita Mei-Yin Wong

Dr. Anita Mei-Yin Wong

Associate Professor, Faculty of Medicine and Health,
The University of Sydney

Anita’s research interest is in language development and language disorders in Cantonese-speaking children. Her work has contributed to the evidence-based assessment of Developmental Language Disorder (DLD), and understanding of its linguistic manifestations in Cantonese. Anita served as the Director of Clinical Education for 5 years at HKU’s BSc (Speech and Hearing Sciences) program. Trained as a speech-language pathologist, Anita is passionate about speech-language therapy education. She worked closely with colleagues in the Faculty of Education to bring interprofessional education to our students across programs before she left HKU in May 2022. She was recipient of the 2020 HKU Outstanding Teaching Award.

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