Pivoting successful workshop to online: sexual health history taking

Professor Paddy Horner and the Unity Sexual Health Team successfully delivered sexual health teaching to 65 students, replicating the aims and objectives of an existing 3-day face-to-face workshop. The new 2-day online version comprised:

Day 1 – asynchronous a mix of pre-recorded lectures, case-based learning activities with model answers, followed by online quiz (built with Xerte)

Day 2 – synchronous sexual history taking workshop and two case-based learning tutorials (including role-play,) Both face-to-face and online format are highly effective and provide a foundation on which students can build as medical professionals to develop their holistic consultation skills. 

The resultant workshop delivered results comparable to the original version.

Tools used: Xerte, Blackboard Collaborate, PDF files (in Blackboard)

Full story

It is vital that medical students have the knowledge and skills to take a patient-centred sexual history. The Unity Sexual Health team developed a successful 3 day face-to-face workshop. Through a combination of Interactive case-based learning, experiential learning through active listening and immersive role playing, shadowing clinicians, health advisers and lab staff, the workshop empowered students to take sexual histories from patients. The sessions proved to be both highly effective.

Then COVID happened!  Could they deliver sexual health teaching to 65 students and replicate the aims and objectives of the existing sessions? 

Professor Paddy Horner and the team reformulated the workshop and worked with the Health Sciences TEL team in implement the plan, using Xerte and Blackboard Collaborate. The pre and post formats are summarised below.


The results and student feedback were pleasing – the chart below shows that student’s ability to take a sexual history improved following the workshop, and this is comparable to the face-to-face workshop (slide the slider to see pre workshop and post workshop ability to take a history). Student feedback was very positive and the role-play elements worked well online.

The sexual health tutorial with Paddy Horner has been really excellent. It’s really good practice and I feel like I’ve really developed my sexual histories through this tutorial.”

Student feedback

”I had my sexual health online day recently and just want to say how fantastic Dr Paddy Horner was. Encouraging, completely empathetic and open minded. I wish all doctors were as non-judgmental as him.”

Student Feedback

Comparing face-to-face and online 

  • Significant improvement in all variables pre and post experiential workshop in both online and face-2-face.​
  • Both formats are highly effective and provide a foundation on which students can build as medical professionals to develop their holistic consultation skills. ​
  • The experiential approach acknowledges the diversity of students both in attitudes and beliefs and in learning styles and provides a safe space to learn how to apply this.​


  • Overall no difference face-2-face vs on-line in all variables pre and post workshop.
  • Students feel it will help them with telehealth consultations.


  • No actual patient involvement may have made some students hesitant to say they can take a sexual history.
  • The student who scored 1 for self efficacy post workshop felt they could do most of the individual tasks.