Training simulated participants for role portrayal and feedback practices in communication skills training: A BEME scoping review: BEME Guide No. 86

Andrea J. Doyle, Clare Sullivan, Michelle O'Toole, Anna Tjin, Anastasija Simiceva, Naoise Collins, Paul Murphy, Michael J. Anderson, Claire Mulhall, Claire Condron, Debra Nestel, Robert MacAulay, Nancy McNaughton, Frank Coffey, Walter Eppich

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Background: Providing feedback is a key aspect of simulated participants’ (SPs) educational work. In teaching contexts, the ability to provide feedback to learners is central to their role. Suboptimal feedback practices may deny learners the valuable feedback they need to learn and improve. This scoping review systematically maps the evidence related to SPs’ role as educators and identifies how SPs prepare for their role and feedback practices. Methods: The authors conducted a scoping review and included a group of international stakeholders with experience and expertise in SP methodology. Five online databases were systematically searched and ERIC, MedEdPortal and MedEdPublish were hand searched to identify relevant studies. Inclusion/exclusion criteria were developed. Data screening and subsequently data charting were performed in pairs. The results of data charting were thematically analysed including categories relating to the Association of SP Educators (ASPE) Standards of Best Practice (SOBP). Results: From 8179 articles identified for the title and abstract screening, 98 studies were included. Studies reported the benefit of SPs’ authentic role portrayal and feedback interactions for learners and on the reported learning outcomes. Data was heterogeneous with a notable lack of consistency in the detail regarding the scenario formats for communication skills training interventions, SP characteristics, and approaches to training for feedback and role portrayal. Conclusions: The published literature has considerable heterogeneity in reporting how SPs are prepared for role portrayal and feedback interactions. Additionally, our work has identified gaps in the implementation of the ASPE SOBP, which promotes effective SP-learner feedback interactions. Further research is required to identify effective applications of SP methodology to prepare SPs for their role as educators.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)162–178
Number of pages17
JournalMedical Teacher
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2024


  • Communication skills
  • feedback
  • role portrayal
  • simulated participant; training

Cite this