Factors of Engagement in Synchronous Online Learning Conversations and Distance Debriefing: A Realist Synthesis Review : Simulation in Healthcare

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Review Article

Factors of Engagement in Synchronous Online Learning Conversations and Distance Debriefing

A Realist Synthesis Review

Mosher, Cynthia J. MD, MSHS; Morton, Alex MSHS, RN; Tarbet, Amanda MSLIS; Palaganas, Janice C. PhD, APRN, ANEF, FNAP, FAAN, FSSH

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Simulation in Healthcare: The Journal of the Society for Simulation in Healthcare 18(2):p 126-134, April 2023. | DOI: 10.1097/SIH.0000000000000650


Summary Statement 

The COVID-19 pandemic propelled remote simulation and online distance debriefings. Like in-person debriefings, faculty seek to facilitate effective reflective discourse. The online learning environment, however, presents challenges to learner engagement that differ considerably from in-person debriefing, yet little research exists in this area. In an effort to identify factors that influence debriefing engagement in the online environment, we conceptualized distance debriefings as complex social interactions and performed a realist review of the literature for evidence in the fields of online learning, healthcare simulation, instructional design, and other teaching and learning fields to see whether we might discern factors that influence engagement in online learning conversations that might inform online distance debriefing best practices. Eighteen articles were found through our search of 5 online databases (MEDLINE, CINAHL, ERIC, Google Scholar). We conducted iterative purposeful searching and continued to do so throughout the review to try to identify any additional studies that would contribute to our understanding. A thematic analysis of the findings of our included articles revealed indicators categorized using the community of inquiry framework, enabling us to understand and explain them in the context of online learning and propose their application to distance debriefing engagement. We also propose a new dimension to the framework: internal and external factors of engagement. Our findings demonstrate that online learning can positively influence engagement of learners if essential factors are implemented. These factors may inform recommendations for best practices toward learner engagement during healthcare simulation distance debriefing.

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