Celebrate 2017: The value of formative feedback in simulation the learning gain for students

Dawn Morley, from the University of Surrey, presented with Ashley Spriggs (Bournemouth University) and Simon Bettles (University of Surrey) at the CELebrate conference. They presented on the impact of formative review, the debrief, that occurs during and after simulation.

Simulation is a rapidly developing area of pedagogy which enables students to safely practice skills and develop knowledge in a monitored learning environment that closely replicates real life practice (Cook 2014).

An under developed aspect of this pedagogic approach is understanding how students use formative feedback following simulation to feedforward into their own professional practice. Shinnick et al (2011; 2012) stress the importance of the debriefing following the simulation. It is argued that gains in knowledge are only achieved following the feedback as this socio constructivist approach to learning enables students to develop their own understanding and knowledge by engagement and dialogue with others (Wenger 1998) and enables them to identify their unique developmental needs.

The importance of students using formative feedback to promote their own ongoing sustainable feedback skills (Carless at al 2011) mirrors moves within HE for students to develop their own self-regulation in interpreting academic feedback (Murtagh and Baker 2009).

This presentation discussed two case studies, one from Bournemouth University and one from the University of Surrey, that aims to critique the value of the formative debriefing.

The first case study discusses a targeted simulation with second year student nurses that forms part of their assessment in a second-year communication module. The challenges of gaining authentic assessment from the variety of partners and how this is subsequently used in a summative assignment are critiqued.

The second case study is part of a current research project that requests student participants to identify their own strengths and weaknesses from a more complex clinical management simulation in the third year of a nursing programme. Future student focus groups will explore how this feedback has been used in students’ last placement experience before registration. The common learning areas identified by students in the first part of the study are discussed.

Comments from audience discussion

  • It doesn’t matter the scale of the simulation as long as there is debrief. It can move from full work based learning through to a short problem solving in role in an academic setting. Both can be effective and the practice constraints e.g. Large numbers of students can be worked around by less ambitious simulation.
  • Through making learning explicit one student claimed they hadn’t learnt anything but managed to articulate what he wanted to learn as result.
  • Make sure students expectations of their learning is managed.
  • Make sure the balance of feedback does not tip into being tutor centred and not student led.
  • Only students can pin point their professional development – it is up to the teacher to draw it out.

Please contact Dawn Morley for further information on d.morley@surrey.ac.uk

This blog was first posted on Dawn’s blog https://workbasedlearninggain.wordpress.com/ on the 14th June and this edited form is posted with her permission

2 Responses to “Celebrate 2017: The value of formative feedback in simulation the learning gain for students”

  1. Angela Warren's avatar Angela Warren

    Thanks to Dr Sue Baron (BU) who designed and developed the simulation activity for our second year students at Bournemouth and worked in close collaboration with BU PIER Partnership members, providing excellent leadership; ensuring that service users were confident in giving appropriate feedback to support our students’ professional development.

  2. Dr Sue Baron's avatar Dr Sue Baron

    If anyone is interested in learning more about the simulated patient admission assessment and handover activities we run for 2nd year adult nurses in Bournemouth (referred to in the above presentation) please do not hesitate to contact me. My email address is sbaron@bournemouth.ac.uk.


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