Simulation Is Not a Pedagogy
Erlam, GD; Smythe, Liz; Wright-St Clair, Valerie
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Simulation as a teaching/learning tool has evolved at an unprecedented pace which some believe has occurred despite a lack of research into pedagogies appropriate to guide this technology-based learning tool. There seems to be some confusion as to what simulation actually is. Some have called simulation a pedagogy, which is incorrect. Simulation is not a pedagogy, but an immersive teaching/learning platform which is a representation of a functioning system or process. Simulation has been used in undergraduate nursing education in a focused manner for nearly 20 years. Its effectiveness in improving clinical reasoning and critical thinking is not certain if overall instructional design principles do not reflect suitable philosophical paradigms. Simulation as a teaching/learning platform is maximized when instructional design includes the inspiration of behaviorism, cognitivism, and constructivism. Behaviorist design principles include rote learning, repetition, modular learning, stimulus-response, and conditioning. Cognitivist design principles include observational techniques, bootstrapping, and equilibration in the form of assimilation and accommodation. Constructivist design principles include new habit formation through experience and interaction with a “mature social medium” in the form of a simulation facilitator. All of these philosophical underpinnings have the potential to maximize simulation when used as underpinnings in the overall design.