13. Simulation in Medical Education

  1. Tim Swanwick
  1. Jean Ker1 and
  2. Paul Bradley2

Published Online: 1 NOV 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781118472361.ch13

Understanding Medical Education: Evidence, Theory and Practice

Understanding Medical Education: Evidence, Theory and Practice

How to Cite

Ker, J. and Bradley, P. (2013) Simulation in Medical Education, in Understanding Medical Education: Evidence, Theory and Practice (ed T. Swanwick), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781118472361.ch13

Editor Information

  1. Dean of Postgraduate Medical Education, Health Education North Central and East London, London, UK

Author Information

  1. 1

    College of Medicine, Dentistry and Nursing, University of Dundee, UK

  2. 2

    Institute of Medical Education, University of Swansea, UK

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 1 NOV 2013
  2. Published Print: 22 OCT 2013

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781118472408

Online ISBN: 9781118472361



  • debriefing;
  • feedback;
  • medical education;
  • simulation;
  • simulators;
  • teaching;
  • theories of learning


This chapter introduces the potential of simulation in medical education and in doing so covers four key areas: (i) definitions and classifications (ii) application of educational theories (iii) the role of debriefing and feedback and (iv) practical applications. Simulation fidelity needs to be related to the goals or learning outcomes of the simulation learning event. A range of simulators and types of simulation events are available to medical education and its common use are reviewed. A number of theories of learning and instruction underpin the design and delivery of the simulated clinical experience, and these can be used not only to affirm educational credibility, but also to develop appropriate research questions. The chapter explores the practical applications for simulation in the teaching and learning of technical and non-technical skills, and how the influence of the environment on practice can be analysed by recreating health care settings.