Simulation Program



Many of Touchstone Institute's Assessment and Learning Programs require the use of simulated scenarios involving standardized clients. Simulation allows examinees and learners the opportunity to demonstrate their competency or to practice their skills in a safe environment under close supervision. Simulation can be useful to a wide range of professions, including health care, business and education.

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Our Standardized Clients

Touchstone Institute recruits individuals who are trained to provide simulation services for both high-stakes assessments and formative evaluations in learning programs. Our database of standardized clients includes a large pool of individuals ranging in age, physical types, ethnic groups, and experience. Acting as patients, clients, health professionals, employers or in other key roles, our standardized clients recreate real-world situations that allow participants to practice their skills or show their expertise. Standardized clients have a complex set of skills that allow them to easily adapt to various types of professional practice scenarios, including assessment and teaching settings, in medicine, allied health fields, and other sectors and disciplines. They are strong communicators, learn quickly, accept direction and adapt easily.

For high-stakes assessments, trainers work with small groups to standardize roles. This validated process includes training, a dry run and final sign-off with the lead subject matter expert to ensure standardization before official examination takes place. For learning programs, standardized clients are trained to improvise and react appropriately to learner interactions to ensure educational objectives are met. Standardized clients participating in a learning program will take part in a feedback workshop to enhance their skills in providing constructive observations to learners.


Simulation Services

Touchstone Institute offers the following simulation services:

  • Standardized clients or patients for high-stakes assessments
  • Standardized clients trained in providing feedback to support learning outcomes in educational programming
  • Scenario-writing and development for clinical and non-clinical simulations
  • Training for specialized scenarios, including professional training and evaluation

Our Standardized Client Trainers provide Touchstone Institute with the advantage of being able to recruit and maintain a large database of reliable local individuals who are familiar with organizational policy and processes. The trainers are involved in development from item creation to review, to ensure a smooth transition to a live interaction. They monitor standardized clients through the training process to ensure consistent performances are delivered on exam day or within the learning environment.

Standardized clients play a key role in objective structured clinical exams (OSCEs), a performance-based exam that is a key component of most high-stakes assessments for health professionals. In an OSCE, examinees engage in a variety of clinical encounters with a standardized client, who portrays a role designed to assess the examinee’s competencies.

By engaging in simulated scenarios, examinees have the opportunity to demonstrate their skills and competencies as may be required of them. Scenarios can be designed to assess an examinee’s professional competencies or facilitate learning in defined areas, including:

  • Problem-solving
  • Decision-making
  • Leadership
  • Interpersonal and team-based skills
  • Communication
  • Technical or clinical expertise

At Touchstone Institute, we can provide:

  • Scenario design and review for clinical interactions
  • Individuals to fulfill the role of patient, client or colleague, as required
  • Training for individuals to ensure standardization prior to assessments
  • Standardized, professional environment, including exam rooms and clinical equipment for medical scenarios
  • Observer stations and Audio Visual capabilities to ensure consistent performance

Custom assessments can be designed with the help of our simulation program to tailor this highly effective tool to your program’s needs.

Standardized clients can play an important role in classroom teaching. Scenarios that reproduce real-world situations bring theoretical lessons to life and offer learners a chance to ask questions, discuss approaches and evaluate outcomes.

In Touchstone Institute’s existing learning programs, standardized clients give international medical graduates an opportunity to practice clinical skills in a safe training environment and provide them with valuable feedback, facilitated and led by physicians.

Integrating simulation into classroom lectures creates authentic learning experiences, offering learners the opportunity to:

  • Practise technical or clinical skills
  • Increase confidence
  • Reduce errors
  • Improve teamwork
  • Prepare for rare or unusual scenarios
  • Enhance information provided in books or lectures
  • Give and receive feedback

Simulation can be incorporated into teaching sessions in various ways to increase student engagement:

Large groups: This is done as a part of the lecture where the simulated individual portrays a client (or patient) in front of the entire group. There are time-outs and the interviewer receives feedback and support from their peers as well as the facilitator.

Small groups: standardized clients are interviewed by one participant with a small group of observers, including a teacher or facilitator. The interviewer receives feedback from their peers, the standardized client and facilitator.

One-on-one simulation: The best way to obtain customized practice or testing. The simulation can be entirely adapted to your needs.

Feedback and debriefing: Standardized clients are trained to provide participants with valuable feedback that is linked to learning outcomes during a debriefing session following the simulation exercise.

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