Post-Training Feedback: The Relative Effectiveness of Team- Versus Instructor-Led Debriefs

In many high-risk domains, such as aviation, medicine, and nuclear power, high-fidelity simulators are used for training and evaluating team performance under realistic conditions. During the simulation, the team members practice their trained skills. Following the simulation, the teams review their performance to identify the lessons that they have learned. Both components are essential for improving team performance.

All debriefings, whether they are instructor- or team-led, work best when they provide specific examples of good and bad performance. As a result, audiovisual recording equipment is currently used in many simulators. Audiovisual equipment is best suited for teamwork-related skills such as communication and decision-making that are easily captured on tape. It is somewhat less useful for technical skills such as interacting with automation, because the instrument displays may be difficult to capture on videotape.

The purpose of this study was to assess the relative effectiveness of different approaches to debriefing team performance: team debrief with videotape, team debrief without videotape, instructor debrief with videotape, and instructor debrief without videotape. We hypothesized that the four approaches would not be equally effective. However, the lack of consensus in the literature made it impossible to hypothesize whether team- vs. instructor-led debriefs would be more effective. Based on our personal experience, we hypothesized that debriefings which incorporate videotape would be perceived as more effective than those which did not.