Simulation for LEARNING

Have you ever had students struggle with a particular concept? (I am sure you have!!)

In one of my classes, this area is nursing care of the high risk newborn.

“What did I do about it?”

I incorporated simulation in the classroom.

newborn simulator


The concept of simulation can be daunting for instructors and anxiety provoking for some students. However, it is proven  teaching strategy that can engage the student, clarify the topic, reinforce the learning, and create in class “fun.” The key in the classroom: Keep the goal “learning.” Make it a “safe” learning environment in which students are allowed to make mistakes, ask questions, receive tips, and get immediate feedback.


  • Brainstorm the idea. Dream with other instructors who teach the same content (and likely see students struggle in the same area).
  • Seek out the experts (the simulation tech, other instructors who use simulation).
  • Design the patient scenario. Work with the sim tech to write the scenario to the simulator.
  • Prepare
    • Reserve the simulator
    • Prepare the props
    • Design roles for students to play
  • Prepare the student. IMPORTANT to decrease student anxiety.
    • Provide “thoughts to ponder” questions before the simulation day.
    • Stress the “safe” learning environment.
    • Encourage and support.
  • Implement the simulation
    • Ask for student volunteers (better received than if “volun-told”)
    • Be prepared to pause during the simulation for questions, reinforcement, encouragement.
    • Guide the participants.
  • Debrief. This is a KEY piece.
    • Evidence has shown that this piece is as important to learning as doing the actual simulation.
    • Student Feedback (from participants and from peer observers)
      • “What went well?” “What would you do differently if given this opportunity again?”
    • Instructor Feedback and Reinforcement

End Results

  • Engaged learner
  • Improved learning
  • Improved test scores
  • Positive learner feedback

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