A model for evaluating the impact of simulation based learning environments

Amanda Davies

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperConference paperpeer-review


As the education and training community continues to rapidly embrace simulation based learning for developing practitioners, the task of evaluating the impact of this learning approach is pivotal. Specifically, understanding the learning impact from the field based practitioner point of view is of equal importance to investigating the technical adequacy of the simulation in the training environment. This paper discusses the design and application of a 4 phase model for evaluating simulation based learning which extends evaluation beyond the training environment to the field of application. The model offers examples based on completed evaluation studies with NSW Police Force simulation based learning exercises. The qualitative and quantitative data collection design extended the evaluation process to include listening to the ‘voices from the field’, i.e. the officers’ field based perspective, and offers an insight into the impact of the exercises in relation to application of learning in the field of operation. The model develops an understanding of key elements of the simulation which influence application in the real world i.e. realistic scenarios, real time customised scenario feeds and time constraints. This format of evaluation contributes to the continuous improvement process in the design and delivery of simulation based learning exercises for practitioners. A major finding from the application of the model to two police training based case studies was the differentiation required in levels of realism for achieving learning outcomes. The pre, post, and field based evaluation model has potential for adaption and application across a wide spectrum of simulation based learning which seeks to build the capacity of learners for their respective operational practices.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Australasian Simulation Congress 2017
Place of PublicationSydney, NSW
PublisherSimulation Australia
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 24 Oct 2017
EventAustralasian Simulation Congress 2017 - Darling Harbour International Convention Centre, Sydney, Australia
Duration: 28 Aug 201731 Aug 2017
http://www.simulationcongress.com (Conference website)
http://proceedings.simulationaustralasia.com/index.html (Conference proceedings)


ConferenceAustralasian Simulation Congress 2017
Abbreviated titlePeople Energising Innovation
OtherIn 1994, the Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) collaborated with industry and academic representatives on a Co-operative Research Centre (CRC) proposal for simulation-related research and development. While that proposal was not funded, project participants were enthused and decided to form an association, led by industry, to further the use and development of simulation in Australia. DSTO also hoped that such an association would manage a newly established annual simulation conference.

In 1996, after planning and negotiation, the Simulation Industry Association of Australia (SIAA) was formed (formerly Simulation Australia Ltd and now Simulation Australasia Ltd). Its primary goal was to conduct an annual conference, which it did so – SimTecT is held is held annually. SIAA had a mission of advancing the research, development, and use of simulation technologies and practices in Australian industry, academia, and government.

In 2007, Simulation Australia created for their health division, the Australian Society for Simulation in Healthcare (ASSH) brand to reflect the international partnership with SSH. This was prior to the SimTecT Health Conference (now SimHealth) being held as an individual conference.

Starting in 2013, the SimTecT and SimHealth conferences were brought together once more and co-located to provide a single focal event for the Australasian simulation community. Following 3 years of co-location, SimTecT and SimHealth were further unified by becoming parallel streams of the inaugural Australasian Simulation Congress in September 2016.
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