PEARLS Debriefing Tool (Journal Club)

Journal Club Article: Eppich, W., & Cheng, A. (2015). Promoting Excellence and Reflective Learning in Simulation (PEARLS): development and rationale for a blended approach to health care simulation debriefingSimulation in Healthcare10(2), 106-115.


Promoting Excellence And Reflective Learning in Simulation [PEARLS] is an integrated conceptual framework for a blended approach to debriefing.

The PEARLS framework integrates:

  1. Learner self-assessment,
  2. Facilitating focused discussion, and
  3. Providing information in the form of directive feedback and/or teaching.

The aim of PEARLS debriefing tool is “the use of scripted language to guide the debriefing process in simulation-based education.

“PEARLS offers a structured framework adaptable for debriefing simulations with a variety in goals, including clinical decision making, improving technical skills, teamwork training, and interprofessional collaboration.”

A Rationale for Scripted Debriefing: A cognitive aid to support the debriefing process in clinical contexts and simulation based education.

A Rationale for a Blended Approach to Debriefing: “3 broad categories of learner self-assessment, focused facilitation to promote critical reflection and deeper understanding of events and providing information through directive performance feedback and/or focused teaching.

In merging these 3 broad educational strategies into a blended debriefing framework, we have kept key learning principles in mind, namely, that learning should be active, collaborative, and self-directed and learner-centered” (pg. 2).

PEARLS Debriefing Framework

“Debriefing script supports simulation educators in 3 main areas as follows:

  • Setting the stage for the debriefing;
  • Organizing the debriefing to include initial participant reactions followed by a description of relevant case elements, an analysis of positive and suboptimal areas of performance using the PEARLS framework to select a debriefing approach, and finally a summary of lessons learned; and
  • Formulating questions that empower educators to share clearly their honest point of view about events.”

PEARLS outlines 4 distinct phases of the debriefing process:

  • Reactions phase
  • Description phase
  • Analysis
  • Summary: Learner or Educator guided


Debrief 2 Learn

Rudolph, J. W., Simon, R., Rivard, P., Dufresne, R. L., & Raemer, D. B. (2007). Debriefing with good judgment: combining rigorous feedback with genuine inquiry. Anesthesiology Clinics25(2), 361-376.

Fanning, R. M., & Gaba, D. M. (2007). The role of debriefing in simulation-based learningSimulation in healthcare2(2), 115-125.