Comparison of Self-Debriefing Alone or in Combination With Group Debrief

Published:October 08, 2019DOI:


      • Self-debrief can be combined with an in-person group debrief.
      • Self-debrief plus group debrief can optimize learning.
      • Evidence-informed debriefing options are available for educators to consider.



      Self-debrief alone and in combination with group debrief methods has not been well explored. Self-debrief requires self-assessment and reflection by the learner where one's strengths and areas for growth are identified. These skills are critical to the development of reflexive practitioners.


      A mixed methods study was conducted to examine debriefing methods. Participants completed a prenatal virtual gaming simulation and then were randomly assigned by lab section to one of three debriefing methods: self-debrief, self-debrief and small-group debrief, self-debrief and large-group debrief. Data were collected regarding two outcomes: prenatal knowledge and the debriefing experience.


      All groups made significant knowledge gains. The self-debrief–only participants had the lowest debriefing experience scores. The small- and large-group debriefing after self-debriefing offered many benefits.


      Self-debrief after a virtual simulation encourages reflection and self-awareness. Combining self-debrief with a small- or large-group debrief can optimize the learning experience.


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