SMART Goals for Simulation Learning Objectives


As educators move to¬†use simulation as a teaching modality, there can be a tendency to start with the simulator (mannequin) and work backward, allowing the tools to define the goal. With the rise of modern the healthcare simulation “industry”, many hospitals have invested heavily in simulation technology, with less attention paid to technique.

In attempting to develop and refine goal-directed simulation, we can learn from long-standing practices in other domains. First published by Doran in 1981, the S.M.A.R.T. Goals¬†mnemonic aids in the refinement of an objective into a statement of anticipated results. SMART, grounded in the project management sector, has reasonable applicability to the development of learning objectives for education in it’s generic form. For the Teaching Course New York, I have paired up with Brent Thoma (@Brent_Thoma) for a breakout session focusing on quality improvement through simulation. As a Flipped Classroom teaching exercise we are circulating the below exercise to participants to take home, develop an objective, and return to the course tomorrow to present, discuss and revise. As part of this process, Brent and I have created a modified SMART template aimed specifically at the development of learning objectives for simulation education. We would love your feedback and suggestions (in the blog comments) to keep refining this tool.


Doran, G. T. (1981). “There’s a S.M.A.R.T. Way to Write Management’s Goals and Objectives”, Management Review, Vol. 70, Issue 11, pp. 35-36.

Wikipedia (Last modified Nov 2015), “SMART Criteria”, accessed 12th Nov 2015.