Games, simulations, and learning in emergency preparedness: A review of the literature


  • Debra K. Olson, DNP, MPH, FAAOHN
  • Mary M. Hoeppner, EDD, MS, RN
  • Kurtis Scaletta, MA
  • Megan Peck, BA
  • Ryan Newkirk, PhD, MPH



health education, health professionals, games, simulations, emergency preparedness, public health preparedness


Between 2007 and 2011, a comprehensive review of the literature was conducted to identify the usefulness of educational games and simulations in developing and evaluating the competency of public health professionals to prepare for, respond to, and recover from emergencies. This article presents an overview of the literature related to the use of games and simulations in education and training, summarizes key findings, identifies key features of gaming simulation design for educational effectiveness, and suggests that use of these emerging teaching and learning strategies be considered in the development of a comprehensive approach for creating and evaluating competency.

Author Biographies

Debra K. Olson, DNP, MPH, FAAOHN

Professor and Associate Dean, University of Minnesota School of Public Health Environmental Health Sciences, Minneapolis, Minnesota; Director, University of Minnesota: Simulations and Exercises for Educational Effectiveness, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Mary M. Hoeppner, EDD, MS, RN

Continuing Education Specialist, University of Minnesota School of Public Health and Evaluator, University of Minnesota: Simulations and Exercises for Educational Effectiveness, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Kurtis Scaletta, MA

Online Education Manager, Loft Literary Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Megan Peck, BA

Graduate Student, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Ryan Newkirk, PhD, MPH

Food Safety Fellow, United States Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service, Washington, District of Columbia.


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How to Cite

Olson, DNP, MPH, FAAOHN, D. K., M. M. Hoeppner, EDD, MS, RN, K. Scaletta, MA, M. Peck, BA, and R. Newkirk, PhD, MPH. “Games, Simulations, and Learning in Emergency Preparedness: A Review of the Literature”. American Journal of Disaster Medicine, vol. 7, no. 2, Apr. 2012, pp. 145-54, doi:10.5055/ajdm.2012.0090.