Center for Immersive and Simulation-based Learning

What is ISL?

videoWatch a video of simulation in action…

Immersive and simulation learning serves as a bridge between classroom learning and real-life clinical experience. Using simulation technologies in true-to-life medical settings, learners are free to build on their current knowledge base and develop important clinical skills before they work with real patients.

“Simulation” is a set of techniques – not a technology per se – to replace or amplify real experiences with planned experiences, often immersive in nature, that evoke or replicate substantial aspects of the real world in a fully interactive fashion. “Immersive” conveys the sense that participants have of being immersed in a task or setting as they would if it were the real world. While seamless immersion is not currently achievable, experience shows that participants in immersive simulations easily suspend disbelief and speak and act much as they do in their real jobs. “Applications” of simulation relate the intended goals of the activity to specific target populations of participants and to specific types of simulation and curricula. ISL techniques address many gaps in the current system of training and assessment, providing focused learning experiences that cannot be readily obtained using traditional techniques or in real patient care situations.

Other advantages of immersive and simulation learning include:


« A range of repeatable learning opportunities
Immersive and simulation learning offers intense experiences that are difficult to obtain in real life. Learners can address multiple different aspects of cognitive and psychomotor skills, including knowledge, tasks, decision-making, and teamwork. They can train for a variety of patient care activities ranging from prevention to surgery. And because any situation can be portrayed at will, these events can be scheduled whenever convenient and repeated as often as necessary.

CVC Trainer

« The freedom to make mistakes and learn from them
Working in an artificial environment allows learners to make mistakes without the need for expert intervention. By seeing the outcome of their mistakes, students gain a powerful learning experience not available in the real world.


« The ability to scale in complexity to match the learner's experience
Programmable to any level of expertise, an immersive learning event can accommodate a range of learners, from first-year medical students to seasoned clinicians looking to learn new techniques or review a rare scenario.


« Detailed feedback and evaluation
Immersive learning allows participants to obtain extensive feedback on their performances. Simulated clinical scenarios can be video recorded and played back during debriefing sessions, so that learners and instructors can review participant performance together. Video playback can serve as an effective trigger for discussion of learning objectives and allows for evaluation of key behaviors.

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