Have you ever observed a simulation event and asked what the event plan was? Did you receive a puzzled look and maybe a cocked eyebrow when you asked the question?
Event design is crucial for a successful immersive learning experience and consists of a few elements:
1. Event duration, including start and end times. These times need to be accurate. Not only for your learners but consider others who have booked time in the simulation centre and also need resources and support. Poor timing creates an unnecessary backlog and isn’t very professional. Budgeting enough time, including support and technician time helps ensure that everyone is happy.
2. Learning Objectives. What’s the purpose of the experience and what should the learner demonstrate? Is an immersive experience the right “tool” for demonstrating a first time IV?
3. Key Trigger Behaviors. What is the criteria that demonstrates the simulation can progress into the next phase? If the learner has not completed a physical assessment, should they be able to move to the next phase in the simulation?
4. Timed Milestones. If it’s an expectation that a final year nursing or medical student should be able to complete an assessment within 0-5 minutes, time it. Then design what happens in minutes 6-10 and so on.
5. Performance-based observations for debriefing. Were there significant actions or reactions that happened during the event? Was the learner listening or dismissing the patient’s concerns? Make notes of key observations to include in the debriefing for a personalized learning experience.
A well-designed event plan can demonstrate an outstanding experience for learners, educators and support teams. The added benefit for everyone is clarity.
Finally, when we think about quality improvement and how it relates to simulation, consider that what is not recorded cannot be measured.
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About the Author: Matthew Jubelius wants to change the future of people development, education and training. He has championed the design, implementation and evaluation of simulation-based education and training programs, including quality improvement measures for post-secondary institutions, private industry and the Canadian government.