Photo: Kongsberg Digital

PROSIM – Professional education and simulation-based training

Research project
Active research
Project size
14,5 MSEK
Project period
2021 - 2024
Project owner
Norwegian University of Science and Technology

Short description

For professional education, it is necessary to bridge theory and practice through active student involvement. The use of simulations in training are promising in respect. Technological advancement in recent years have expanded the opportunities to train in a realistic and risk-free environment before entering a workplace where mistakes can be the difference between life and death. To successfully adopt such methods, we need an in-depth understanding of the relationships between professional contexts and simulation used in education. That is, are there systematic differences across these professions with respect to whether simulation-based methods are considered suitable, and how they get applied in practice?


PROSIM gathers researchers from three Nordic universities to study the use of simulations across three domains - health science, biomedicine and maritime education. Our aim is to develop knowledge and further understanding of the use of simulations for professional learning. In particular, our interest is to explore the relationship between simulations and the social, emotional and cognitive dimensions for practice and to develop professional identity. The project involves forums for learning across domains and discussion both within academia and with the practice fields. Thus, the ambition of PROSIM is to stimulate cross-disciplinary learning of best practices as well as a shared system of concepts.

Investigating technology-supported simulation-based training in maritime, health and biomedical laboratory science

Through innovative and interdisciplinary research, the project group investigates technology-supported simulation-based training in bachelor-level education in three professional fields: maritime, health and biomedical laboratory science. Simulation-based training is a widespread method to improve the quality of practice in a risk free and cost-effective manner across different professional fields. Despite structural similarities between fields, there are significant differences in how simulation-based training is implemented and used in practical training and assessment practices. For instance, in maritime bachelor education, simulators are used for certifying technical skills i.e. to formally qualify for international competence requirements for the industry, whereas in bachelor-level education in healthcare, simulators are used for preparations before the start of practice periods in the health services. In laboratory science, advanced simulation technologies have recently entered the educational field though highly immersive virtual reality technologies.

Pedagogical challenges when adopting new technologies

While current studies suggest that students appreciate these technological aids, there are pedagogical challenges in terms of adopting these technologies in a way that improve learning outcomes. Given the large variance in the scope and practice of simulation-based training across professional domains, as well as the critical lack of knowledge exchange between their respective research traditions, we currently have an inadequate empirical understanding of the role and significance of different simulator technologies, simulation design and the significance of social support in professional learning and assessment for different simulated environments.

A comparative scope

The comparative scope of the project is to contrast simulation-based practices in three bachelor educations and investigate how they are interpreted in theory and enacted through practice. PROSIM will develop innovative research methods that broadens the perspective and unit of analysis to naturalistic settings, drawing on situated, distributed and sociocultural theories of interaction and knowledge transmission to study professional learning as interactional accomplishments between participants and simulation- technologies in everyday simulation practice. Comparatively exploring what characterizes and differentiates simulation-based learning across these three professional fields, the project group systematically study simulation practices to advance our knowledge on how training designs, simulation practice and learning outcomes mutually shapes simulation-based training.

Bridging the gap between theoretical knowledge and practical applications

Advancing knowledge on these aspects is an absolute prerequisite for advancing simulation pedagogies. Through continuous interdisciplinary dialogue, this comparative and empirical approach bridges the gap between theoretical knowledge and practical applications across professional fields characterized by an otherwise fragmented knowledgebase.


Project members

Project manager Marte Fanneløb Giskeødegård (NTNU)

Key team member Helen Berg (NTNU)

Key team member Sahar Olsen (NTNU)

Key team member Mads Solberg (NTNU)

Key team member Aud Marit Wahl (NTNU)

Key team member Astrid Camilla Wiig (USN)

Key team member Charlott Sellberg (GU)

Key team member Oskar Lindwall (GU)