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Representing and enacting movement: The body as an instructional resource in a simulator-based environment

Journal article
Authors Charlott Sellberg
Published in Education and Information Technologies : Official Journal of the IFIP technical committee on Education
Volume 22
Issue 5
Pages 2311–2332
ISSN 1360-2357
Publication year 2017
Published at The Linnaeus Centre for Research on Learning, Interaction, and Mediated Communication in Contemporary Society (LinCS)
Department of Education, Communication and Learning
Pages 2311–2332
Language en
Links doi.org/10.1007/s10639-016-9546-1
Keywords Instruction, Simulator-based training, Distributed cognition, Higher education, Maritime education
Subject categories Educational Sciences


Simulators are used to practice in a safe setting before training in a safety-critical environment. Since the nature of situations encountered in high-risk domains is complex and dynamic, it is considered important for the simulation to resemble conditions of real world tasks. For this reason, simulation-based training is often discussed in terms of realism in relation to real world work practices. However, regardless of the realism of the simulator, there are always glitches in the perception of the simulation as a realistic work setting. In this study video-recorded data is used to explore these glitches between a simulation and the real world. The analysis is focused on maritime instructors’ use of body and talk to represent aspects of the real world missing in high-fidelity simulators. Moreover, the study explores the role of these representations in developing the students’ understanding of the ship’s movements in manoeuvring also in a simulator environment. Results show that instructions given in the simulator have the potential to facilitate students’ learning of the ship’s movements by using the body as an instructional resource. In the study, a combination of bodily conduct and instructive talk that are coupled towards the simulator, as well as aspects of an imagined real world, is used to address glitches in the simulator. The results contribute to a growing corpus of research, which show that realism in simulator-based training is an instructional achievement rather than a matter of technical fidelity of the simulator.

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