International trainer perceptions of simulation-based learning: a qualitative study

Int J Med Educ. 2021 Dec 27;12:267-273. doi: 10.5116/ijme.61b3.214c.


Objectives: This study examined trainer perceptions of simulation-based learning for Continuing Professional Development in international settings.

Methods: A qualitative research methodology was used to gain insight into trainer perceptions. Seventeen international physician trainers involved in simulation training in cardiovascular catheterization and intervention were interviewed. An inductive thematic analysis was performed following steps described by Braun and Clarke; researchers inductively approached, and then carefully dissected the transcripts into individual stories, grounded the problems, and explored themes.

Results: Trainer perceptions are largely aligned with learning theories, even though they were not specifically educated in simulation-based learning and program design principles in advance. Trainers perceive their primary role as facilitators to be most important and consider structuring sessions, facilitating group learning, and stimulating reflection to be crucial themes in simulation-based learning. They believe that building trust is an underlying principle to function in their role and feel responsible for being prepared to improve trainee satisfaction as adult learners. Trainers believe that learning from making mistakes is an important mechanism in simulation-based learning, but they give less attention to giving feedback.

Conclusions: Trainers with basic training in facilitation skills in a classroom may unconsciously follow teacher-student instructional models with which they are familiar. This study confirms that trainers in simulation-based learning need pedagogical and facilitating skills to guide trainees and facilitate group processes. Educational training for trainers should include building trust and giving feedback in a more explicit place. In future studies, a mixed-method methodology is suggested to evaluate multi-layered complexities of educational practices.

Keywords: continuing professional development; facilitation; feedback; simulation; trust.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Clinical Competence
  • Humans
  • Models, Educational
  • Physicians*
  • Qualitative Research
  • Simulation Training*