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Telling Stories from the Sea: Facilitating Professional Learning in Maritime Post-Simulation Debriefings

Journal article
Authors Charlott Sellberg
Astrid Camilla Wiig
Published in Vocations and Learning
ISSN 1874-785X
Publication year 2020
Published at Department of Applied Information Technology (GU)
Language en
Keywords Maritime education and training; Simulator training; Debriefing; Storytelling; Professional learning
Subject categories Other Engineering and Technologies


This study examines storytelling episodes in 13 video-recorded and fully transcribed post-simulation debriefings from a maritime navigation course. The aim is to scrutinize the facilitators’ practice of telling stories from the sea during debriefings, to explore the organization and inner function of storytelling in debriefing. A combination of dialogical-performative analysis and a structural narrative model was conducted to analyze and contextualize stories from working at sea in the debriefing practice. The analysis shows how storytelling in debriefing frequently occurred, and was mainly occasioned by critical discussions about students’ mistakes during the simulated scenario. In such a critical debriefing practice, the results show how telling stories about lived experiences of professional dilemmas and mistakes serves multiple functions. In line with research results from previous studies on storytelling in higher education, this study demonstrates how storytelling connects the simulated event to the professional responsibilities on board seagoing ships. In addition, storytelling might also serve face-saving purposes in this critical debriefing practice, which raises important questions regarding psychological safety and the debriefing climate.

Page Manager: Webmaster|Last update: 9/11/2012

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