Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW)

, Volume 24, Issue 5, pp 461–508 | Cite as

Situational Awareness as an Instructable and Instructed Matter in Multi-Media Supported Debriefing: a Case Study from Aviation

  • Wolff-Michael Roth
  • Alfredo Jornet


Debriefing is an important practice for learning from experience especially in high-risk industries, including the medical field and aviation. Although it might be assumed that tools aiding in representing the events to be debriefed will improve the learning outcomes, meta-analytic studies appear to show that there is no advantage to debriefing sessions that use videos. Simultaneously, such meta-analytic studies are calling for process-related investigations of debriefing generally and those focusing on representational tools more specifically. In this study, we provide an exemplary interaction analysis of debriefing meetings in aviation that immediately follow 4-hour examination sessions. We examine how situational awareness—a crucial feature of aircraft piloting performance—becomes an instructable and instructed matter in and through the meetings. We exhibit the anchoring role of the tool, the opportunities for distinguishing knowledge from performance components, and the opportunities for anchoring third-person perspectives of performance to embodied knowing.


Tool mediation Situational awareness Debriefing Technology-rich workplace Learning Embodiment Re-presentation Memory 



Grants from the Air New Zealand group and Qantas Airlines covered the travel expenses associated with the data collection and the verbatim transcriptions. We thank all pilots and flight examiners for their willingness to participate in this research. Our gratitude specifically goes to (a) Timothy J. Mavin for the recruitment of participating airlines, contributions to the data collection, and arrangements for obtaining rough transcriptions and (b) Ian Munro and Richard Wallace for their assistance on the technical and procedural matters of flying the aircraft involved. We thank TJM and RW for reading an early draft and providing editorial and technical comments, respectively. The authors bear sole responsibility for the contents of this text.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of VictoriaGreater VictoriaCanada
  2. 2.Griffith UniversityBrisbaneAustralia
  3. 3.University of OsloOsloNorway

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