Simulations at Work —a Framework for Configuring Simulation Fidelity with Training Objectives

  • Magnus HontvedtEmail author
  • Kjell Ivar Øvergård


This study aims to provide framework for considering fidelity in the design of simulator training. Simulator fidelity is often characterised as the level of physical and visual similarity with real work settings, and the importance of simulator fidelity in the creation of learning activities has been extensively debated. Based on a selected literature review and fieldwork on ship simulator training, this study provides a conceptual framework for fidelity requirements in simulator training. This framework is applied to an empirical example from a case of ship simulator training. The study identifies three types of simulator fidelity that might be useful from a trainer’s perspective. By introducing a framework of technical, psychological and interactional fidelity and linking these concepts to different levels of training and targeted learning outcomes, the study demonstrates how the fidelity of the simulation relates to the level of expertise targeted in training. The framework adds to the body of knowledge on simulator training by providing guidelines for the different ways in which simulators can increase professional expertise, without separating the learning activity from cooperative work performance.

Key Words:

Collaborative learning Cooperative work Professional learning Simulator fidelity Simulator training 



We thank the maritime pilots and instructors for their participation in this research. Our gratitude also goes to the anonymous reviewers for their thorough and helpful comments. We also thank Hans Christian Arnseth for valuable feedback on earlier versions of the paper. The authors bear sole responsibility for its contents.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PedagogyUniversity of South-Eastern NorwayKongsbergNorway
  2. 2.Department of EducationUniversity of OsloOsloNorway
  3. 3.Department of Health, Social and Welfare StudiesUniversity of South-Eastern NorwayKongsbergNorway

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