A comparison of rapid cycle deliberate practice and traditional reflective debriefing on interprofessional team performance

Nora Colman, Susan M. Wiltrakis, Sherita Holmes, Ruth Hwu, Srikant Iyer, Nandranie Goodwin, Claire Mathai, Scott Gillespie, Kiran B. Hebbar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: In simulation-based education, debriefing is necessary to promote knowledge acquisition and skill application. Rapid Cycle Deliberate Practice (RCDP) and Traditional Reflective Debriefing (TRD) are based in learning theories of deliberate practice and reflective learning, respectively. In this study, we compared the effectiveness of TRD versus RCDP on acquisition of conceptual knowledge and teamwork skills among interdisciplinary learners in the pediatric emergency department. Methods: One hundred sixty-four learners including emergency department attending physicians, fellows, nurses, medical technicians, paramedics, and respiratory therapists, participated in 28 in-situ simulation workshops over 2 months. Groups were quasi-randomized to receive RCDP or TRD debriefing. Learners completed a multiple-choice test to assess teamwork knowledge. The TEAM Assessment Tool assessed team performance before and after debriefing. Primary outcomes were teamwork knowledge and team performance. Results: Average pre-intervention baseline knowledge assessment scores were high in both groups (TRD mean 90.5 (SD 12.7), RCDP mean 88.7 (SD 15.5). Post-test scores showed small improvements in both groups (TRD mean 93.2 (SD 12.2), RCDP mean 89.9 (SD 13.8), as indicated by effect sizes (ES = 0.21 and 0.09, for TRD and RCDP, respectively). Assessment of team performance demonstrated a significant improvement in mean scores from pre-assessment to post-assessment for all TEAM Assessment skills in both TRD and RCDP arms, based on p-values (all p < 0.01) and effect sizes (all ES > 0.8). While pre-post improvements in TEAM scores were generally higher in the RCDP group based on effect sizes, analysis did not indicate either debriefing approach as meaningfully improved over the other. Conclusions: Our study did not demonstrate that either TRD versus RCDP was meaningfully better in teamwork knowledge acquisition or improving skill application and performance. As such, we propose Reflective Deliberate Practice as a framework for future study to allow learners to reflect on learning and practice in action.

Original languageEnglish
Article number122
JournalBMC Medical Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2024


  • Interdisciplinary simulation
  • Rapid cycle deliberate practice
  • Simulation-based team training
  • Traditional reflective debriefing


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