Noyes JA, Carbonneau KJ, Matthew SM. Comparative Effectiveness of Training with Simulators Versus Traditional Instruction in Veterinary Education: Meta-Analysis and Systematic Review. J Vet Med Educ. 2022 Feb;49(1):25-38

PMID: 33891532


One of the greatest challenges in veterinary education is adequately preparing students with the clinical skills they need to be successful health care providers. Integration of simulators, devices used to represent real world phenomena under test conditions, into the veterinary curriculum can help address challenges to clinical instruction. The use of simulators in veterinary education is increasing; however, their effectiveness remains unclear. This meta-analysis seeks to synthesize the evidence for simulator training in veterinary education to provide a consensus of effect, guide the integration of simulators into the curriculum, and direct the development of future simulation-based research in veterinary medicine. A systematic search identified 416 potential manuscripts from which 60 articles were included after application of inclusion criteria. Information was extracted from 71 independent experiments. The overall weighted mean effect size for simulator training was g = 0.49 for the random-effects model. The outcome measures of knowledge, time, process, and product all produced statistically significant mean effect sizes favoring simulation (d = 0.41, 0.35, 0.70, 0.53, respectively). A moderator analysis revealed that study characteristics and instructional design features moderated the effectiveness of simulator training. Overall, the results indicate that simulator training in veterinary education can be effective for knowledge and clinical skill outcomes.