The History of the NLN and Experiential Learning Part 2: The 1960s to Present

By: M. Elaine Tagliareni, EdD, RN, CNE, FAAN

The History of the NLN and Experiential Learning is a two-part series. Part 2 focuses on the 1960s to the present.

Historical part 2 - simAt the turn of the 21st century, the NLN led the movement of simulation experiential learning as a vital component of nursing education. In 2003, the NLN conducted the landmark simulation study, “Designing and Implementing Models for the Innovative Use of Simulation to Teach Nursing Care of Ill Adults and Children: A National Multi-Site, Multi-Method Study.” Led by Dr. Pamela Jeffries, with Dr. Mary Anne Rizzolo from the NLN, the project team delivered more than 60 presentations, published 17 articles and book chapters, and published a book on simulation titled Simulation in Nursing Education: From Conceptualization to Evaluation (Jeffries, 2007; the 2nd edition was published in 2012). Their dissemination efforts extended to six continents. This study also resulted in the development of the NLN Jeffries Simulation Framework, now a middle-range theory. The NLN Jeffries Simulation Theory is widely used today as the theoretical foundation for research in simulation use and efficacy, both nationally and internationally.

Since that initial study the NLN has led programming and resource development of Simulation Innovation Resource Center (SIRC) simulation scenarios, virtual simulation, and other teaching strategies that have transformed nursing education. In 2013, the NLN established the Center for Innovation in Simulation and Technology.

Historical part 2 - ALSsim_Advanced-1Today, the NLN supports nurse educators and practicing nurses as they reframe the student-teacher relationship to co-create meaningful learning experiences through simulation. This continued collaboration will be evident at the 2018 NLN Education Summit celebrating 125 years of leadership in nursing education. This year, in recognition of NLN leaders who led us to reform nursing education through simulation, the annual Deborah L. Spunt Lecture will focus on the impact simulation has had on building a culture of excellence in teaching. Dr. Susan Forneris will deliver the lecture, “On the Shoulders of Giants: Building Innovation in Teaching Excellence.” Her speech will honor previous Spunt lecturers and leaders in simulation while fostering a dialogue about the future of nursing education to foster contextual learning environments and actively engage students in the process of transformational learning. It promises to be one of many highlights of the Summit.

Please join the celebration by registering for the 2018 NLN Education Summit.



Jeffries, P. R. (Ed.). (2007). Simulation in nursing education: From conceptualization to evaluation. New York, NY: National League for Nursing.

Jeffries, P. R. (Ed.). (2012). Simulation in nursing education: From conceptualization to evaluation (2nd ed.). New York, NY: National League for Nursing.

Jeffries, P. R. (2015). The NLN Jeffries Simulation Theory. Washington, DC: National League for Nursing.

National League for Nursing. (2015). A vision for teaching with simulation [NLN Vision Series]. Retrieved from

National League for Nursing. (2015). Debriefing across the curriculum [NLN Vision Series]. Retrieved from

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