OBJECTIVE. A national study explored the use of simulated learning experiences in U.S. occupational therapy and occupational therapy assistant entry-level academic programs.

METHOD. Program faculty at 245 of 310 occupational therapy assistant and occupational therapy entry-level programs completed a self-reported 23-question online survey on the use of simulation and its challenges and benefits. Data were analyzed using frequency, percentage, and thematic coding.

RESULTS. Of 245 programs, 175 (71%) reported using simulation, with the most common teaching methods incorporating human actors and students and video cases. Simulated scenarios were primarily presented in intervention courses (90%). Faculty provided feedback that benefits of the simulated experience were increased critical reasoning, problem solving and decision making, and communication among students. Challenges were time, cost, and scheduling.

CONCLUSION. Findings were similar to those in the literature in terms of simulated learning’s uses, benefits, and challenges. Further research on student learning outcomes and pedagogy in occupational therapy is recommended.

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