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Introduction

“Learning is the process whereby knowledge is created through the transformation of experience.”

-David Kolb

OBJECTIVES

  • Relate simulations and simulated learning strategies to educational theories.

  • Identify a variety of ways simulation can be used for content delivery and the development of psychomotor skills.

  • Describe approaches to teach early recognition and rescue situations.

  • Discuss the importance of aligning technology with simulation objectives.

  • Compare and contrast the benefits of using various types of simulation approaches.

  • Explain how simulation can be used for instruction and evaluation.

Providing education for health professionals in the academic setting has changed significantly since the days of training with the mantra “See one. Do one. Teach one.” Today, in addition to developing competent and confident healthcare professionals, educators are concerned with the ethics of training with actual patients. They must also ensure consistent access to specific clinical experiences to prepare increasing numbers of clinically competent providers who are confident in simple to highly technical skills and complex reasoning (Ziv, Wolpe, Small, & Glick, 2003).

Simulation is uniquely suited to help meet the challenges of educating healthcare students in the academic environment. As a teaching strategy, simulation has been demonstrated to provide a safe and effective approach to learning skills, developing clinical thinking, and making critical decisions without placing patients at risk for harm (Institute of Medicine, 2011). Simulations can be constructed to deliver content in place of traditional lectures and to teach students how to perform specific skills as well as how to critically think through a clinical situation. Simulations also can be designed to provide learners with a series of experiences that cannot be guaranteed to occur during their clinical practice time as well as encourage teamwork, leadership, interprofessional practice, and communication. Learner acquisition of knowledge, skills, and abilities can be evaluated using simulation. These evaluations can be formative or summative. When properly designed, simulations can ensure consistency in evaluative approach and can be used in high-stakes testing such as determining progression to the next level within a program or to graduation.

Educational Theory and Simulation

The concept of learning as a function of activity, context, and culture is based on the theory of contextual or situated learning. Active learning— in which participants are physically, mentally, and emotionally involved in the learning, usually within context and situation—is a profoundly more effective teaching strategy than more passive methods. Learners and their learning needs are at the center of active learning. Any number of teaching strategies can be employed to actively engage students in the learning process, including group discussions, problem-solving, case studies, role-play, journal writing, and structured learning groups. The benefits to using such activities are many, including improved critical-thinking skills, increased retention and transfer of new information, increased motivation, and improved interpersonal skills.

Simulation puts the learner into action, providing a contextually realistic environment in ...

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