Scenario design for simulation-based education

Simulation-based education often provides learners with an opportunity to develop clinical knowledge and skills in context. This is achieved through creating scenarios in which learners can immerse themselves as a means to integrate components of clinical practice learnt in isolation, to develop practices for teamwork and interprofessional collaborative practice, and to connect sequences of patient care. Scenario-based learning can also promote learner engagement with careful design considerations. This may include representation of the voices of multiple stakeholders, including patients and/or their carers. In this unit, students will review a range of scenario templates highlighting benefits and limitations and will design scenarios for creating immersive learning experiences. Students will also have the opportunity to apply theory from the foundation unit in health professions education.

Learning Outcomes

  • Discuss considerations of educational design in scenario-based learning.
  • Describe the concept of immersion to achieve learning.
  • Discuss the benefits and limitations of templates in scenario design.
  • Describe sources of inspiration for scenarios.
  • Discuss strategies for achieving multiple perspectives in scenarios.
  • Demonstrate effective scenario design.

Assessment Tasks:

1. Analytic paper (2000 words) (30%)
a. Discuss the benefits and limitations of using real clinical events for scenario design
b. Discuss approaches to creating immersive learning experiences in scenario-based simulations
c. Discuss the benefits and limitations of using templates in scenario design
2. Develop a scenario for a simulation-based educational event (2,500 words) (40%)
3. Reflective writing based on scenario implementation (1500 words) (30%)

Course Director

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Professor Debra Nestel


Professor of Healthcare Simulation in Education

Debra completed her first degree at Monash and has since lived and worked in Hong Kong, London and now back in Melbourne. Debra leads a national programme in simulation education (, a network in simulated patient methodology (, and is Editor in Chief of Advances in Simulation (, the journal of the Society in Europe for Simulation Applied to Medicine. Debra leads the new Graduate Certificate in Clinical Simulation. When Debra is not at Monash, she is busy being a Professor of Surgical Education, Department of Surgery, University of Melbourne. In this role, she is Course Director of the Graduate Programs in Surgical Education, co-badged degrees with the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons. She is also Course Director of Graduate Programs in Surgical Science. Debra is passionate about research and writing has published over 200 peer-reviewed papers in health professions education, published edited books on simulated patient methodology (2015), healthcare simulation (2018) and has two edited books for publication in 2019, on surgical education and healthcare simulation research. She has won many awards and prizes for her work in simulation. Debra is looking forward to working with the MIHCE team.