On the bridge to learn: Analysing the social organization of nautical instruction in a ship simulator

Abstract

Research on simulator training has rarely focused on the way simulated contexts are constructed collaboratively. This study sheds light on how structuring role-play and fostering social interactions may prove fruitful for designing simulator training. The article reports on a qualitative study of nautical students training in a ship simulator. The study examines how a group of students, together with a professional maritime pilot, enacted professional roles and collaboratively constructed a simulated context for learning to navigate. Their activities on the bridge were framed within the maritime profession’s hierarchical system of captain and officers, and we examine in detail how these institutionally defined positions become important resources for meaning-making during role-play. The article portrays how two competing activity contexts were constructed, and how the role-play provided opportunities for enacting professional roles and work tasks. However, it also shows that it is challenging to pick up on what is significant to learn and to confront this in debriefing. The article concludes that the students’ collaboration and meaning-making is an entity of training that may be more efficiently addressed.

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Acknowledgments

We would like to thank Elisabeth Stokoe for her valuable comments on data transcripts and for sharing her insights on role-playing as communicative activity. We also would like to thank David Middleton and Anniken Furberg for their positive and constructive comments on an early presentation of data at a seminar on interaction analysis at Intermedia, University of Oslo. We are also in debt to Karianne Skovholt, Marit Skarbø, and Susanne Knudsen for valuable feedback on earlier drafts. Finally, we would like to thank the anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments.

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Correspondence to Magnus Hontvedt.

Appendix 1. Transcription conventions

Appendix 1. Transcription conventions

[] Square brackets mark the start and end of overlapping speech. They are aligned to mark the precise position of overlap.
Underlining Underlining indicates emphasis; the extent of underlining within individual words locates emphasis and also indicates how heavy it is.
CAPITALS Capitals mark speech that is audibly louder than surrounding speech. This is beyond the increase in volume that comes as a by-product of emphasis.
°­I know it ‘Degree’ signs enclose audibly quieter speech.
(0.4) Numbers in round brackets measure pauses in seconds (in this case, 4 tenths of a second). If they are not part of a particular speaker’s talk, they should be on a new line. If in doubt, use a new line.
(.) A micro pause, audible but too short to measure.
((stoccato)) Additional comments from the transcriber, e.g. about features of context or delivery. Refer to the previous line.
she wa::nted Colons show degrees of elongation of the prior sound; the more colons, the more elongation.
Yeh, ‘Continuation’ marker—speaker has not finished; marked by fall-rise or weak rising intonation, as when delivering a list.
>he said< ‘Greater than’ and ‘lesser than’ signs enclose speeded-up talk. Occasionally, they are used the other way around for slower talk.
solid.= =We had ‘Equals’ signs mark the immediate ‘latching’ of successive talk, whether of one or more speakers, with no interval.
heh heh Voiced laughter. Can have other symbols added, such as underlining, pitch movement, extra aspiration, etc.
sto(h)p i(h)t Laughter within speech is signalled by h’s in round brackets.
y’know? Question marks signal stronger, ‘questioning’ intonation, irrespective of grammar.
Yeh. Full stops mark falling, stopping intonation (‘final contour’), irrespective of grammar, and not necessarily followed by a pause.
(xx) or (blrf) Un-gotten material. Nonsense syllables are sometimes provided, to give at least an indication of various features of the un-gotten materials.
The transcriptions follow standards from Jefferson (2004), and are inserted from:
http://www-staff.lboro.ac.uk/~ssjap/transcription/transcription.htm

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Hontvedt, M., Arnseth, H.C. On the bridge to learn: Analysing the social organization of nautical instruction in a ship simulator. Computer Supported Learning 8, 89–112 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11412-013-9166-3

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Keywords

  • Simulator training
  • Role-play
  • Activity contexts
  • Simulations
  • Interaction analysis