New paper on simulation in higher education

I’m delighted to announce online publication of my latest paper.

Abrandt Dahlgren M, Fenwick T & Hopwood N (2016) Theorising simulation in higher education: difficulty for learners as an emergent phenomenon. Teaching in Higher Education. doi: 10.1080/13562517.2016.1183620

The url behind the doi number will give the first 50 people to click free access to the full paper. Please only use this option if you don’t have access through your institution (so that free access is preserved for those who really need it). Otherwise you’ll need to go through the normal channels, or you can contact me for a copy.

The paper was co-authored with Prof Tara Fenwick (UK/Canada) and Prof Madeleine Abrandt Dahlgren (Sweden). We looked at data from three studies of simulation in health professional education, and explore how sociomaterial theory can help understand what makes simulations difficult for learners, how that difficult arises, and what this means for educators. This is the latest in a series of papers about simulation, arising from a project I’ve been working on with colleagues at UTS (see here for more information on the project, and this link for a full list of publications).

Here is the abstract:

Despite the widespread interest in using and researching simulation in higher education, little discussion has yet to address a key pedagogical concern: difficulty. A ‘sociomaterial’ view of learning, explained in this paper, goes beyond cognitive considerations to highlight dimensions of material, situational, representational and relational difficulty confronted by students in experiential learning activities such as simulation. In this paper we explore these dimensions of difficulty through three contrasting scenarios of simulation education. The scenarios are drawn from studies conducted in three international contexts: Australia, Sweden and the UK, which illustrate diverse approaches to simulation and associated differences in the forms of difficulty being produced. For educators using simulation, the key implications are the importance of noting and understanding (1) the effects on students of interaction among multiple forms of difficulty; (2) the emergent and unpredictable nature of difficulty; and (3) the need to teach students strategies for managing emergent difficulty.

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