A Brief on Debriefing: What it is and What it Isn't


  • Peter M. Markulis
  • Daniel R. Strang


Debriefing has been an important topic for ABSEL scholars over the past several years. Most educators would agree that debriefing is an important component of the learning process. Debriefing usually occurs at the end of an experiential exercise or computerized simulation and is a way to help students bring closure to the experience. Nevertheless, debriefing remains ill-defined, unsystematically used and not fully tested or proven experimentally. In particular, the authors found that promoters of debriefing seldom explain the rationale of the process or how to actually use it with a particular exercise or simulation. This paper reviews some of the ABSEL scholarship related to debriefing in an attempt to summarize, categorize and clarify the debriefing process. The paper discusses various definitions and descriptions of debriefing, presents several debriefing strategies and techniques, develops a taxonomy of debriefing categories, offers some research issues on debriefing and concludes with some recommendations about the theory and methodology of debriefing.