Debriefing 101: training faculty to promote learning in simulation-based training

Am J Surg. 2015 Jan;209(1):126-31. doi: 10.1016/j.amjsurg.2014.05.034. Epub 2014 Oct 16.


Background: Debriefing is recognized as essential for successful simulation-based training. Unfortunately, its effective use is variable. We developed a train the trainer workshop to teach key evidence-based components of effective debriefing.

Method: A workshop focusing on best practices for debriefing in surgical simulation-based training was developed for the 2012 Annual Meeting of the Association for Surgical Education. Content emphasized key theoretical concepts related to and evidence-based components of an effective debriefing. Additionally, the workshop incorporated experiential learning via active debriefing following a simulated scenario.

Results: Content of the workshop emphasized effective debriefing as the key to learning in simulation-based education. Key elements of debriefing for educators to keep in mind include the following: approach, learning environment, engagement of learners, reaction, reflection, analysis, diagnosis, and application.

Conclusions: Effective debriefing is an essential skill for educators involved in surgical simulation-based training. Without it, learning opportunities are missed. Training the trainer in effective debriefing is essential to ensure standardization of practice.

Keywords: Continuing medical education; Debriefing; Faculty development; Simulation; Surgical education.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Competence
  • Computer Simulation*
  • Education, Medical, Graduate / methods*
  • Faculty, Medical*
  • General Surgery / education*
  • Humans
  • Models, Educational*
  • Problem-Based Learning / methods*
  • Program Evaluation
  • United States