Training skills and assessing performance in simulator-based learning environments
Paper in proceedings, 2017
This article reports the results from a research project on the use of simulator technologies in the training and assessment of professional performance in maritime training. The research draws on ethnographic fieldwork and analyses of video-recorded data to examine how maritime instructors make use of simulator technologies during instruction. Our results reveal an instructional practice where the need to account for general principles of good seamanship and international regulations is at the core of the basic maritime training. The meanings of good seamanship and the rules of the sea are hard to teach in abstraction, since their application relies on an infinite number of contingencies that have to be accounted for in every specific case. Based on this premise, we are stressing the importance of both inscenario instruction and post-simulation debriefing in order for the instructor to bridge theory and practice in ways that develop the students' professional competences. Moreover, our results highlight how simulator technologies enable unique ways of displaying and assessing such competences by enabling instructors to continuously monitor, assess and provide feedback to the students throughout training sessions. Our results imply that training models advocating isolating and targeting technical and non-technical skills during training conflict with training for rule-governed maritime operations where such skills are intricately entwined. Furthermore, our results show that debriefing models that recommend a linear chronological order of discrete phases could be misleading. Although this structure might provide an overall resource, processes of connecting principles and rules to a multitude of specific circumstances in the training scenarios are at play throughout the debriefings.