Member News May 2012

By Angela Blood

In the latest volume of Medical Teacher, ASPE member Liz Ohle and Cheri Bethune of Memorial University of Newfoundland, along with colleagues Miriam Boillat, Saleem Razack, and Yvonne Steinert of McGill University, published their article, titled “Twelve tips for using the Objective Structured Teaching Exercise for faculty development.” This article focuses on the practical aspects of how to develop and deliver an Objective Structured Teaching Exercise (OSTE) in a faculty development context, while outlining specific recommendations and pitfalls. 

 From a standardized patient (SP) educator perspective, this work brings our attention to a perhaps underutilized realm of possibility: that of the standardized learner.  While many SP educators are well-versed in undergraduate medical education and OSCEs (Objective Structured Clinical Examinations), the world of Continuing Medical Education (CME) has perhaps not been fully immersed in standardized patient-based methodologies.  However if clinical education is recognized as a set of skills to be developed, a tool such as the OSTE provides another avenue of application for the SP educator.  The advantage of the OSTE, as compared to other traditional methods of faculty development on teaching skills, is that it provides a structured environment for both experience and feedback.  As with other SP-based methods for instruction and assessment, the variety and scalability of teaching scenarios are almost unlimited, and the OSTE “incorporates many of the elements of an ‘ideal’ faculty development tool by: (1) creating authentic teaching contexts; (2) enhancing the objective assessment of teaching skills with standardized learners and pre-determined criteria; (3) allowing direct feedback from learners and peers; and (4) providing an opportunity for repeated practice.” 

Articles such as these promote the work of SP educators and increase our visibility to our health profession colleagues – keep up the good work!


Boillat, M., Bethune, C., Ohle, E., Razack, S. Steinert, Y. (2012).  Twelve tips for using the Objective Structured Teaching Exercise for faculty development.  Medical Teacher, 34(4), 269-273.

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