Example 12

Actors: Lecturer, peer assessment and external party 
Type: Training practical skills, exercise

Dorthe Nielsen,
Assistant professor
Institute of Clinical Research, Department of Infectious Diseases
Faculty of Health Sciences

The feedback activity in brief
Role-play exercises with feedback from multiple sources guide medical students to improve future communication with patients. The students also learn how to provide and receive constructive feedback based on the role-play exercises.

At the bachelor and master course “Kommunikation” (Communication) at the medicine study programme role-play exercises are used as teaching activities. The exercises are designed as components of patient conversations and the framework for the relations is structured to teach the students to improve communication with patients. There are usually 7-10 students in each group. Besides the feedback activity, the students are also asked to record two conversations with real life patients when the students are visiting a clinic. Furthermore, they are to observe and reflect upon good and bad things that they observed at the general practitioner they are visiting..

The actual activity and its extent
The course takes 5 times 3 hours divided into 3 hours of theory recapitulation and review, and 4 times 3 hours’ role-play exercises. All the students are given a manual with different cases, and they are each assigned with a part that they should provide feedback on. Each student tries the role-play exercises 1-3 times during the course. The student is assessed throughout the role-play, and sometimes the conversations are recorded and used for the subsequent feedback. Students in the audience, the teacher and the patient (an external party) provide the student with feedback. Importance is attached to giving constructive and appreciative feedback that is grounded in theory. It is important to make room for self-reflection in the feedback. The teacher can also interrupt if it is necessary to raise the professional level of the conversation. 

The level of difficulty of the conversations gradually increases during the course, but the students have the opportunity to prepare beforehand if they want to.

Experiences and assessment
The teacher must be very active in this exercise, especially in the role as co-ordinator. However, it is also fun and educational for the teacher, and the exercise itself provides a good exchange of professional competency and makes sense in relation to the students’ future practical work. In the beginning the students found the activity difficult, but now it has become very important to them. It is important that the feedback is provided in a proper manner, that is to say that it must make sense to the person receiving the feedback. With this feedback activity the teacher gets a good feeling of the students’ performance and progress.

Evaluation: in which contexts will you recommend this feedback activity?

Suitable for classes of:  Small classes
Suitable for level:  All
Suitable for offline, online or both:  Offline
Other possible actors:  Yes
Is the activity part of an assessment method? Yes, the activity requires active participation
Is the activity part of the curriculum? Yes

The Calgary Cambridge Model


For more information about VUF please contact:
SDU Centre for Teaching and Learning - Rie Troelsen -

For more information about this feedback activity please contact: 
Dorthe Nielsen,