Friday 8th January 2021, 8AM GMT (7PM ACT)

Virtual Workshop: The use of virtual patients in Motivational Interviewing skill acquisition through self-preparation for team-based learning

Please note: Anyone who wishes to attend the workshop is asked to:

The step-by-step introduction explains how to use the “MI Trainer” online software for interviewing a Virtual Patient. This guide will not explain the tenets of Motivational Interviewing, and it is not strictly necessary to be familiar with MI in order to use the software or conduct the interview. If you experience any technical issues, or have questions about the use of the software, please contact Richard Leibbrandt (co-facilitator of the workshop) at

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A Motivational Interviewing Virtual Client Conversational Tool: Meet Anna

The MI Trainer allows users to conduct a “virtual interview” with a simulated client or patient. The interview explores the issues around weight loss and healthy diet experienced by “Anna”, a 60-year-old woman who has come to you to talk about managing her diabetes. You will select the next thing to say to Anna from a set of multiple-choice options (usually a set of four). Each of these options was devised by us when we developed the interview, and they represent a spectrum from completely adherent to MI best practice, through neutral, to completely in conflict with MI principles.

Virtual Workshop: Introduction

"There is a growing trend towards online learning and using virtual patients in educating health professionals in various clinical skills, particularly during this pandemic era. Online learning with virtual patients (VPs) allow learners to engage with simulated patients, providing a safe environment in which to learn about methods and practice their skills followed by sharing experiences and learnings with peers as part of team-based learning. There are various approaches to the development of and engagement with VPs, whether part of an undergraduate or post graduate curriculum or continuing professional development.

This workshop provides the opportunity for participants to engage with a pilot version of a virtual patient conversation tool for Motivational Interviewing (MI), provide input into the ongoing development of the VP, and explore the use and value of virtual patients in teaching MI and other clinical skills to health professionals."

Full Abstract made available by the Authors: please click here


Dr Richard Leibbrandt, Research Development Assistant, College of Medicine and Public Health, Flinders University

Richard is a computational scientist with an educational background in psychology, cognitive science and computer science. His primary research interests relate to human and machine learning of language, commencing with his PhD work and earliest publications, which investigated computational models of the way in which children may learn the parts-of-speech of their first language. Subsequently he has worked on a number of projects focused in particular on applications of natural language processing. Another side of his work deals with the development of computer systems that are designed around the humans who use them. This research encompasses conversational agents, affective computing and brain-computer interfaces, across a number of projects including PhD co-supervision. These projects have included the development of an assistive application for supporting people with memory loss, a system to support social skills teaching in autism spectrum disorder, and an application for training health professionals in interviewing techniques.

Professor Adrian Schoo, Fellow of ANZAHPE, Prideaux Centre for Research in Health Professions Education, College of Medicine and Public Health, Flinders University

Adrian is Professor at the College of Medicine and Public Health, Flinders University and a Fellow of the Australian & New Zealand Association for Health Professional Educators (ANZAHPE). He played an instrumental role in establishing a solid foundation for the physiotherapy course at Flinders University, and is currently affiliated with the Prideaux Centre for Research in Health Professions Education. Before moving into these programs Adrian was deputy director of the Greater Green Triangle University Department of Rural Health (Flinders University and Deakin University) where, starting with physiotherapy, he established an allied health workforce enhancement project, funded by the Victorian Department of Human Services. The program evolved into a state-wide continuing education program for 22 allied professions in Victoria that also provided online access to allied health in other Australian jurisdictions.

Adrian's interests include clinical education, complexity science and transformative learning, leadership training, and rural health workforce development and associated health service enhancement, particularly in the area of interprofessional learning and practice, and chronic disease prevention and management. Rural and remote health workforce recruitment and retention, and associated patient/community/regional-centred health services is complex. His research and consultancy work includes working with peers from very different disciplines to understand the complexity and appreciate the different paradigms, and find opportunities for innovation. Associated work informs policymakers, administrators, educators and health professionals, and can be found on ResearchGate, LinkedIn and Flinders University.

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