Simulation offers an important context for clinical education, providing a structured, safe and supportive environment bridging the classroom and the clinic. Two trends in the simulation community appear to be developing uncritically and without adequate evaluation. First, there is a fascination with seductive high-fidelity simulation realized through sophisticated technology. Second, simulation has increasingly appropriated learning in the psychological domain, such as communication skills, under the rationale of 'integration'. Developments in simulation activities have largely been made in a theoretical vacuum and where theory is invoked it is learning theory rather than theory of simulation. This paper introduces theories of simulation from cultural studies as a critical balance to the claims of the simulation community. Work-based and simulation-based learning could engage in a new dialogue for an effective clinical education.
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