Category Archives: Simulation

Starting Backward & Looking Forward…

I was writing a post for our Simulation Centre Blog ( and thought further about the post and whether my advice about evaluation being an ‘afterthought’ is limited to simulated environments…. or is the advice from M. Kaas that I refer to really applicable whenever we find ourselves in the classroom?

I reflected on a recent discussion with a classmate who stopped me after my own class to ask if I’ll be able to apply what we are currently studying in either my dissertation or my own practice – if we have to ask the question, do we already know the answer?

We get so busy putting together our lesson plans and HOPEFULLY creating engaging classroom activities…. we think about how we’ll measure and test – but do we really think seriously about the difference that the education will make for our students in their practice? How might we measure that application? What is the critical take away?

I’m always excited when I hear from former students – when they send me an article they’ve recently read that made them think of me. Or, when students comment in an evaluation that they are now excited about a topic because of an expert from industry who came to class and provided them with a way to link theory to practice. Those are the moments I value most.

As Merrie suggests – what do we want the learner to know? Are we designing the technology around the learning or vice versa? In 6 months’ time, will students remember anything that we’ve covered with them? How often do we ask students to reflect on the information and how they might integrate this new knowledge into their practice? Do we discuss clinical situations and provide examples of where this information might prove valuable?

So what next?

For me, I commit to bringing problem based learning (PBL) activities to every class I facilitate from this point forward. The research supports PBL, we know that it works, PBL is engaging and it allows students immediate application of a principle…..and isn’t it really just another form of simulation anyway.

What about you, do you or will you start backward at the outcome and look forward for the answer?



Filed under Simulation, Teaching Tools

Fellow Bloggers Unite….

Wow, what a contrast in creating a blog that speaks with more of a ‘corporate’ voice, rather than my own voice and of my own personal blogging journey. Since this second blog is my endeavor for my micro/tech-project for this class (ECI 831), I wanted to get started while I still have my support ‘community’ around to offer advice….

Many questions and some trepidation I must say…..

  • What reading level should it be written at? My target market is healthcare professionals, but patients, families and all of our staff are welcome to stop by.
  • How much does the ‘outside’ world know about blogging? Are they early adopters of technology? Are they out there wayfinding and sensemaking like we are?
  • What if the corporate world isn’t ready for my writing style and my sense of humor? Is my disclaimer enough to let the world know my hope is to be respectful – but not stuffy.
  • Was checking in with my VP – like Mayo Clinic suggests is ‘common courtesy’, the best way to start?
  • What information will my colleagues be interested in?
  • How do I keep them engaged and coming back for more?
  • And finally my greatest worry – will all of this wordpress technology work with Internet 6 :(. (I already know twenty eleven doesn’t).

All these perils aside, it has been an exciting step for our project and it’s an introduction to ‘tech’ in an environment where a great deal of technology is yet to come…..

If you have experience and advice to offer; or just a few minutes to stop by and meet Otis and Iris, I’d appreciate your feedback on the site. (It doesn’t officially get publicized until after the election, and I’m posed to click the edit button.)

PS – Since posting last evening my public relations group has suggested that I’ll need to have the simulation centre blog set to private until after the election and then may be granted an option to be a ‘pilot’ social media site for our region…. So, probably a bit more complex than just confirming with my VP – already new learnings….. But  if you are still willing to stop by to offer advice, please just reply and provide me with your e-mail address and I’ll just add you to my list of viewers for the short-term. Again – thanks for considering.



Filed under Simulation, Teaching Tools

Music to my ears….

Please don't stop the music

I had the chance to participate in yet another webinar this week – this time with Dr. K. T. Waxman from the University of San Francisco. I signed up because the title was “The Business of Simulation: Building a Case for a Return on Investment”. A topic near and dear to my heart these days. You’ll find it at:

There was a lot of good advice in the session, but the part that was music to MY ears was to hear Dr. Waxman suggest that we need to look at research in simulation related to transference.  As she suggests….. we’ve done enough feel good studies, we know that its engaging, we know that experiential learning is effective and we know that students have fun.  NOW we have to be able to apply the skills learned in our Sim labs in our work environments.  We need to develop measures to show that we are making a difference in patient care. My faculty advisors for my dissertation will be so proud…. oh no…. pressure.

As I struggle to develop my own research question (for a Simlab that’s not yet open), I value this advice and her questions – If you don’t do this what will it look like? What future are you trying to create? What assumptions can you make? Will you see a reduction in falls or medication errors? Can you decrease the length of stay for patients? Can you find a decrease in infection rates? Do fewer patients need to be transferred to a higher level of care?

I’m actually hearing some quantifiable measures in these questions, what about you?

But enough about me…. A few other things from Dr. Waxman that were take aways for those of us just starting the journey:

  • Simulation has to be part of curriculums rather than an “add on”;
  • Make sure a significant portion of your budget is saved for faculty development;
  • Its more about the methodology than the technology;
  • Stick to a couple of measures, don’t over commit, pick a unit or two to start with – not the whole organization; and
  • You can never have too much storage or too many outlets.

As always, opinions and comments welcome.


Filed under Simulation, Teaching Tools

What can you do without walls?

[mb] Graffiti Wall Panorama (Chicago) - 5

Well I guess that depends on what we are talking about LOL. But when we are talking about training, there are a number of things we might want to consider – according to Jane Bozarth in her webinar “Classrooms Without Walls, using Social Media in Training”, found at:

We can do simulation, everyone can talk at once, we can invite an expert (who might not consider joining us locally or who might do it for free if they are interested in the same topic), we can cross time and distance, and we can encourage customer engagement. Ok, I’m sold. As Jane mentions, it won’t work for everything, but it certainly can be used to get into the spaces between formal training events.

One of Jane’s points that I took to heart was to consider picking one or two tools and then sticking to them. Just because we (yes that’s the royal we) spend our free time researching this stuff, doesn’t mean that our learners are interested in having to learn a new tool every time they sign up for a session. Good advice….

Jane also talked about how everything is easy to start, but hard to maintain. So true…. how many of us have intranet sites at work that have old information on them? Just the other day I was asked to update a document being sent to students that still referenced things done in 1997…. did we even have computers back then ha! So, I guess that means if I’m going to do this thing called ‘blogging’ and create something that eventually someone might want to read, I will need to commit to coming back regularly to keep it fresh.

Similar to one of my previous posts, Jane also referenced a number of professional uses for twitter. Things like: problem solving, Q & A, asking learners about a challenge they faced or one way to apply what was learned. Even better… Jane suggests, save learners a few characters and have them fill in the blank – when I watched the video on using social media, I immediately wanted to _______.

Jane closed with telling us that social media won’t work if you:

  • don’t facilitate:
  • don’t engage;
  • have an enormous need for control;
  • have no tolerance for messiness,
  • expect a community to manage itself; and
  • don’t learn to participate yourself.

Wise words…. I’m now following Jane on twitter 🙂


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What isn’t measured isn’t done….

When I was part of the host team for the Grey Cup a few years back, I always appreciated when our chair came to each meeting and reminded us of this need for measures.  It really is what determines the success of an initiative and often allows you to build your business case for funding and organizational support.

This need for measures, is always lurking in the back of my mind as we work through the design and construction for our simulation centre. We know that simulation isn’t new, but it’s new to our organization – and along with our growing team of excited early adopters, there will be doubters and those who will be slow to adapt to the change. Even alot of the literature I’ve read on simulation, suggests that it’s fun and learners are engaged, but to date we haven’t been able to prove that patient outcomes have seen a significant positive impact. Well, if that’s truly the case – why wouldn’t we save the money and provide yet another power point based inservice…..(yawn)…..

Those of us committed to this journey know that we can develop the measures, quantify and qualify what we do and convince even the Mabel’s  (name changed to protect the ‘not so innocent’ – but you all have one I’m sure) of the world. We know that it will make a difference for our patients.

I was pleased to read that the Americal Society of Training and Development has seen a statistically significant correlation between informal learning and market performance (as reported in Knowledge Advisors, 2010, “Informal Learning Measurement”). The white paper from Knowledge Advisors (KA) also suggests the need to think about what to measure, when to measure it and how to measure it. They believe that along with the constructs we’ve always measured we’ll also need to think about value, belonging and engagement in our measures of informal learning. The difference with informal learning, KA suggests,  is that we need to keep it fresh and active OR learners won’t keep coming back.

So what suggestions did KA have for how to measure informal learning:

  • High tech things like system analytics – measuring access, availability and usage;
  • High touch things like – observation, interviews, focus groups and case studies to measure usability and effectiveness;
  • Standard needs analysis – prior;
  • User polls – at each interaction and;
  • Formal surveys or assessments  – at milestones.

All great suggestions and things to consider as measures of learner engagement. A perfect starting point for measures as we prepare to open our centre. I’m not however convinced that these measures will help me in my quest to prove that we will make a positive impact on patient care. But I guess some of that depends on what we measure and who we talk to.  I’m sure our patients will be able to tell us if they think its working…. Stay tuned or better yet – share your experience.


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