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debriefing, Debriefing for Meaningful Learning, screen-based simulation, virtual simulation



  1. Dreifuerst, Kristina T. PhD, RN, CNE, ANEF, FAAN
  2. Bradley, Cynthia S. PhD, RN, CNE, CHSE
  3. Johnson, Brandon K. PhD, RN, CHSE


Background: COVID-19 has led to increased use of screen-based simulation. However, the importance of including a robust debriefing as a component of these simulations is often neglected.


Problem: Failing to include debriefing with screen-based simulation could negatively impact student learning outcomes.


Approach: Debriefing, including recollection, discussion to reveal understanding, feedback and reflection, is a process of helping learners make sense of learned content and knowledge as it is applied to the patient care experience. Debriefing for Meaningful Learning (DML) is an evidence-based method derived from theory, which can be easily incorporated into screen-based simulation to augment the clinical learning experience.


Conclusion: By guiding learners to consistently engage in DML, clinical decisions and actions taken during virtual simulations can be uncovered, discussed, challenged, corrected, and explored. Including a synchronous, structured debriefing like DML ensures that screen-based simulation results in meaningful learning in addition to performance feedback to foster safe and quality patient care.