National League of NursingNational League of Nursing

The Voice of Nursing Education

Descriptions of Available Instruments

National League of Nursing     laerdallogo

The Simulation Design Scale (student version), a 20-item instrument using a five-point scale, was designed to evaluate the five design features of the instructor-developed simulations used in the NLN/Laerdal study. The five design features include: 1) objectives/information; 2) support; 3) problem solving; 4) feedback; 5) fidelity. The instrument has two parts: one asks about the presence of specific features in the simulation, the other asks about the importance of those features to the learner.

Content validity was established by ten content experts in simulation development and testing. The instrument's reliability was tested using Cronbach's alpha, which was found to be 0.92 for presence of features, and 0.96 for the importance of features.

Download a copy of the Simulation Design Scale for nursing education research (PDF).

Educational Practices Questionnaire (student version), a 16-item instrument using a five-point scale, was designed to measure whether four educational practices (active learning, collaboration, diverse ways of learning, and high expectations) are present in the instructor-developed simulation, and the importance of each practice to the learner.

The educational practices were derived from the work of Chickering and Gamson (1987). Reliability was tested using Cronbach's alpha. Presence of specific practices = 0.86; importance of specific practices = 0.91

Download a copy of the Educational Practices Questionnaire for nursing education research (PDF).

Student Satisfaction and Self-Confidence in Learning
, a 13-item instrument designed to measure student satisfaction (five items) with the simulation activity and self-confidence in learning (eight items) using a five-point scale. Reliability was tested using Cronbach's alpha: satisfaction = 0.94; self-confidence = 0.87

Download a copy of the Student Satisfaction and Self-Confidence in Learning for nursing education research (PDF).


The Simulation Design  Scale, Educational  Practices Questionnaire, and Student Satisfaction and Self Confidence in Learning Scale were all developed as part of the 2003 NLN/Laerdal simulation research study.  These instruments are all student self reports of their perceptions and reactions to the simulation.  Since that time, many other instruments have been developed that more objectively evaluate learners in simulation based experiences.  With the growing body of research in simulation, it is clear that student reactions and self-confidence are concepts that have been well studied.  Use of these instruments at this time should be limited to use within simulation programs that are just being established.  The two citations below provide information that can assist you in examining other simulation evaluation tools.  

Kardong-Edgren, S., Adamson, K., Fitzgerald,C. (2010).  A Review of Currently Published Evaluation Instruments for Human Patient Simulation. Clinical Simulation in Nursing, 6(1), e25-e35.

Adamson, K.A., Kardong-Edgren, S., & Willhaus, J. (2013). An Updated Review of Published Simulation Evaluation Instruments. Clinical Simulation in Nursing, 9(9), e393-e400.

Read the NLN/Laerdal Project Summary Report (PDF).

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