Simulation Observers Learn the Same as Participants: The Evidence

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9 Scopus citations


Background: Confusion continues regarding the value of the observer in simulation and whether they engage in the active and experiential learning environment that underpins simulation. Despite studies demonstrating no differences in knowledge between the participant and observer, it is still unknown how observers learn in simulation and how they apply that learning to a contextually similar situation, a critical aspect of debriefing. Method: An experimental, pretest-multiple posttest, repeated-measures study was used to describe the knowledge demonstration, knowledge retention, and knowledge application of participants and observers after a simulation and debriefing. Results: There was no significant difference between participant and observer in any of the measures. There was significant knowledge gain regardless of role and significant knowledge decay in both groups four weeks later. Conclusions: The observer appears to construct knowledge similarly to participants. Educators must consider the value of assigning learners to both participant and observer roles.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-34
Number of pages9
JournalClinical Simulation in Nursing
StatePublished - Aug 2019


  • DML
  • debriefing
  • experiential learning
  • knowledge
  • observational learning
  • observer role
  • simulation


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