Bulletin 146 April 2011 Learning Safety through Simulation
- Posted at: September 25, 2021 02:59:52

Simulation has been available for training purposes for many years. Some of the first simulators were created in the aviation industry to instruct pilots and navigators, reducing the danger to students and the general public. First generation instructional design takes an “objectivist” or traditional teaching approach, which places the learner in a passive role. In a first generation course, learners are expected to absorb only information identified through prior analysis. The instructor guides, lectures, and provides information as a subject matter expert, while the learner memorizes and practices by repeating what has been learned. Second generation instructional design applies “cognitive constructivism”, encouraging action and interaction between instructor-learner and learner-learner. Within this model, the instructor creates a workshop learning environment and facilitates interaction designed to motivate students to research, explore, experience and apply newly acquired knowledge.

A good example of a training program that incorporates both models is a safety course. A first generation instruction setting would consist of an instructor presenting and reviewing the safety rules, regulations, and the consequences of lapses in safety procedures and precautions with the class. This type of course requires that learners focus on memorizing facts, and tests that capacity to memorize. No matter how high-tech or low-tech the presentation medium, whether classroom lecture, e-learning program, Power-Point presentation or DVD video, it’s still first generation instructional design. Second generation instructional design consists of actual field experiences in the work setting, such as fire drills, emergency drills and fire extinguisher training, that create an environment where learners can explore and apply their knowledge. This has been the “tried and true” method for many years, but it is becoming more difficult, costly and sometimes dangerous to train people through live-action scenarios. With the additional spectre of possible environmental damage or contamination, companies hesitate to conduct these types of sessions. An alternate delivery option for the second generation methodology is simulation training, which allows learners to make decisions on how to apply their knowledge in various situations. Simulations reduce the overall cost of a program and are available to a wider group of learners. A simulation poses little risk to a learner’s well being, the physical work area, expensive machinery or the environment, while still allowing participants to handle equipment virtually and to put knowledge and skills into practice in a protected arena. The set up of live-action situations is often a daunting and expensive task. It is necessary to implement safety precautions to prevent injury and avoid environmental damage. A simulation allows students and providers to learn, practice, and repeat procedures as often as necessary in order to correct mistakes, fine-tune their skills, and optimize outcomes. In addition, with simulation, students can gain experience under a wider variety of scenarios that they may not encounter during their regular workday. This is particularly significant for training in the management of emergency situations. Research studies indicate that simulation improves learning and is effective in developing skills for procedures that require eye-hand coordination and ambidextrous manoeuvres. Simulation training helps learners prepare to deal with unanticipated events, develops teamwork and communication skills, increases confidence, and improves performance.

This article was contributed by Firepoint Inc, serving the GTA since 1997, developing fire department approved fire safety plans for newly constructed and existing buildings. Although every effort is made to ensure the accuracy, currency and completeness of the information, the bulletin publishers and authors do not guarantee, warrant, represent or undertake that the information provided is correct, accurate or current and shall not be liable for any loss, claim, or demand arising directly or indirectly from any use or reliance upon the bulletin information. Bulletin reproduction in whole or in part is prohibited without the written consent of Firepoint Inc. Copyright 2021 – All Rights Reserved. See www.firepoint.ca or call 905-874-9400.

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