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The Acquisition of Static and Dynamic Intervention Skills by Graduate Speech-Language Pathology Students.

PURPOSE: Speech-language pathology programs use simulated learning experiences (SLEs) to teach graduate student clinicians about fidelity to therapeutic interventions, including static skills (clinical actions that are delivered in a prespecified way regardless of the client's behavior) and dynamic skills (contingent responses formulated in response to a client's behavior). The purpose of this study was to explore student learning of static and dynamic skills throughout SLEs and live clinical practice.

METHOD: Thirty-three speech-language pathology graduate students participated in this study. Students were first trained to deliver an intervention before having their treatment fidelity measured at three time points: an initial SLE, actual clinical practice, and a final SLE. Treatment fidelity was first summarized using an overall accuracy score and then separated by static and dynamic skills. We hypothesized that (a) overall accuracy would increase from the initial simulation to treatment but remain steady from treatment to the final simulation and that (b) students would acquire dynamic skills more slowly than static skills.

RESULTS: In line with our hypotheses, students' overall accuracy improved over time. Although accuracy for static skills was mostly established after the first simulation, dynamic skills remained less accurate, with a slower acquisition timeline.

CONCLUSIONS: These results demonstrate that SLEs are efficacious in teaching students the clinical skills needed for actual clinical practice. Furthermore, we show that dynamic skills are more difficult for students to learn and implement than static skills, which suggests the need for greater attention to dynamic skill acquisition during clinical education.

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