More than Just Playing a Role! Human Simulation can be a Useful Tool to Enhance Communication Trainings

  • Tuesday, February 16, 2021
  • 8:00 AM - 9:30 AM
  • Zoom!


  • Members of other (not Maine) New England ATD chapters are welcome to join our monthly programs for free. Email for a registration code.

Date: Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Time: 8:00 – 9:30 AM 
Location: ONLINE!   Registrants will receive a Zoom link
Register by: Friday noon, February 12, 2021


More than Just Playing a Role!  Human Simulation can be a Useful Tool to Enhance Communication Trainings

Is there a way to advance from traditional roleplaying exercises to target nuanced communication skills for assessment and training?


Though tied to newer concepts such as virtual reality, simulation has been around for a long time as a way to teach and enhance technical skills such as flying an airplane. At the same time, without artificial intelligence, computers struggle to teach other important concepts such as empathy and compassionate communications. When applied to the teaching of communications, simulation often looks like assigning roles and enacting an artificial play. It doesn’t have to be like that. When approached scientifically, human simulation is a tool that can be added to your toolbox when it comes to assessing and training your team. At its core, human simulation draws on the past to inform future behaviors, helping to promote a growth mindset and teaching adults in one of the ways we learn best, through experience.

As demonstrated through a mock simulation at the end of this workshop participants will be able to:

  1. Distinguish simulation from role play as an educational tool
  2. Recognize the fundamental elements of human simulation
  3. Identify instances in training where simulation could be utilized

In an increasingly diverse workforce, it will be important to promote and practice compassionate communication at all levels of an organization. Communication competencies can be overthought, as being innately possessed (or not) by individuals. However, communication is an art and any art is, to some degree, teachable. It is important to find the right tool to test and practice these skills. We can do this by using Simulation. By enhancing clear avenues of communication, individuals and organizations can create efficient workflows and maximize human capital. Furthermore, the workforce of the future will only be more tech savvy and appreciate self-directed, problem-based learning. Gone are the days of didactic lectures. Because of technology in our pockets, there are new definitions of attention spans. Experiential Education will continue to be a tool for developing leadership, especially at the adult level, and Simulation is a part of that.

In ATD's new Capability Model, this presentation will help you with Impacting organizational capability and develop professional capability.


Christine Mallar, Erin Siebers & Bethany Rocheleau

For nine years, Christine Mallar has performed in the Standardized Patient (SP) Educator role at Maine Medical Center’s Hannaford Center for Safety, Innovation and Simulation.  She partners with faculty members, helping give life to their curriculum goals.  Additionally, Christine manages two Simulation Training Specialists responsible for training SPs and running simulation events.  Prior to her role as SP Educator, Christine worked as a corporate trainer and technology trainer in healthcare and finance.  Christine earned her B.A. in Sociology at Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, PA.  Always fascinated with the structure and evolving shapes of society as a whole, she grew to appreciate the influential role of communication and education of adults.  Working in simulation, where we can dissect communication into various facets and closely examine the effects, allows her deep dives into subject matter about which she is highly interested.

Even though she came from away, Erin Siebers is quickly adapting to life in New England while serving Maine Medical Center as a Simulation Training Specialist. At the Hannaford Center for Safety, Innovation, and Simulation, Erin shares responsibility to cast and train the SPs for their encounters. Prior to her role in Maine, she spent 5 years as a part-time Standardized Patient and ten years as a museum interpreter, teaching and practicing experiential education with diverse audiences on a range of topics. Driven by a B.A. in history from St. Ambrose University, an M.S. from Western Illinois University, and a love of learning, Erin enjoys noodling through complex subjects and creating pathways to enhance teaching and learning from prior experiences. When not in a thought bubble, she enjoys travelling, spending time outside, and being part of a community. 

Bethany Rocheleau has been working at MaineHealth since 2001, primarily as a certified training professional.  She received her BA in History and Anthropology from the University of Southern Maine in 1997 and continued her studies, earning a Certificate in Training and Development in 2007.  She joined Maine Medical Center’s Hannaford Center for Safety, Innovation and Simulation in February 2018 and spends her time working closely with the MMC residency programs. Working within the Standardized Patient Program, she focuses on supporting continuing education for clinical staff by facilitating curriculum that enhances communication skills.  She acts as a critical support pillar to faculty, orchestrating meaningful interpersonal skills trainings which focus on building trust, encouraging empathy and delivering complex information in a compassionate, supportive manner.   In her spare time, Bethany enjoys traveling, reading, gardening and being on the ocean with her husband and two step daughters. 

Cancellation Policy: A full refund will be issued if the cancellation request is made on or before 5 calendar days before the scheduled program. Please email with your inquiries.

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