Simulation can replace part of speech-language pathology placement time: A randomised controlled trial. Academic Article uri icon


  • Purpose: Simulation is increasingly used within speech-language pathology education. Research has primarily explored students' perceptions of learning in simulation. The aim of this study was to determine if speech-language pathology students achieved a statistically-equivalent level of competency when a mean of 20% of placement time was replaced with simulation compared to placements without a simulation component.Method: This non-inferiority randomised controlled trial involved students from six Australian universities. Students were randomised to either a simulation + traditional placement group attending 5 days of simulation prior to their traditional placement, or a traditional only placement group. Their end-placement clinical competency was assessed using Competency Assessment in Speech Pathology (COMPASS®).Result: Final data were available for 325 students: 150 students in traditional placements, 138 students in protocol-compliant simulation + traditional placements, and 37 students in non-protocol simulation + traditional placements. There were no statistically significant differences between groups (traditional vs protocol-compliant simulation + traditional Mann-Whitney-Wilcoxon z = 1.23, df = 286, p = 0.22; traditional vs intention-to-treat simulation + traditional Mann-Whitney-Wilcoxon z = 0.23, df = 323, p = 0.81).Conclusion: This research contributes to the evidence base which suggests that simulation can partially replace traditional placement time for speech-language pathology students without loss of competency, substantiating its value as an alternative placement model in speech-language pathology programmes.


  • Hill, Anne
  • Ward, Elizabeth
  • Heard, Rob
  • McAllister, Sue
  • McCabe, Patricia
  • Penman, Adriana
  • Caird, Emma
  • Aldridge, Danielle
  • Baldac, Stacey
  • Cardell, Elizabeth
  • Davenport, Rachel
  • Davidson, Bronwyn
  • Hewat, Sally
  • Howells, Simone
  • Purcell, Alison
  • Walters, Joanne

publication date

  • 2020