Learning Conversations: Feedback and debriefing practices in clinical practice and in simulation

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Effective communication optimises learning. While feedback and debriefing are common in health professional education, there is substantial variance in how they are practiced. From a learner’s perspective, feedback and debriefing are often insufficient or simply not recognised.

Examine how this form of communication – framed as ‘learning conversations’ – can contribute to learning and teaching processes.

During this online course, you’ll consider perspectives of both the learner and teacher, and develop strategies for creating safety-enabling honest communication in learning conversations. Learn from an international expert in health professions education. Our course draws on literature from clinical supervision and simulation, where concepts of feedback and debriefing are framed to support professional development.

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Who should attend

This course is designed for anyone involved in supporting the development of students and professionals in health and social care, in both clinical and simulated environment.

Learning outcomes

  • Describe the role of feedback and debriefing in supporting learning.
  • Identify the range of settings in which learning conversations occur.
  • Recognise strategies to create safety for learning conversations.
  • Outline strategies to promote learner-initiated feedback.
  • Demonstrate learner-centred approaches to briefing.
  • Demonstrate specific debriefing approaches in diverse learning contexts.

Accelerate your qualification

Eligible participants who complete the assessed version of this short course can receive 6 credit points towards the M4008 Graduate Certificate in Clinical Simulation.

Learn more at our Health Professions Education and Simulation courses page.

Assessment tasks

  1. Individual oral presentation (20 minutes)  (20%), during teaching block
    a.  Review a debriefing approach (e.g. PEARLS, GAS, Advocacy Inquiry, Diamond etc.) highlighting strengths and limitations
  2. Simulated learner-centred conversation (10 minutes) (15%),
  3. Structured reflection on a learning conversation (1500 words) (25%)
  4. Analytic paper (2500 words) (40%)
    a.  Review strategies for creating psychological safety during learning conversations
    b.  Analyse learner-led approaches to feedback and debriefing
    c.  Consider the role of talk as a means of developing professional identity

Course Director

Professor Debra Nestel


Professor of Healthcare Simulation in Education

Prof Nestel 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 Prof Nestel 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.

Prof Nestel is passionate about research and writing; she 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.

Find out more about Prof Debra Nestel.