Measuring the Level of Fidelity Required for Transfer of Learning in Simulation-Based Learning Exercises for Novice and Experienced Practitioners

Amanda Davies, Ghaleb Krame

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


An acknowledged conundrum which exists for designers of simulation-based learning exercises centres on how much fidelity is required to aid transfer of learning from the classroom to the field of application and what is the influence of the learner’s practitioner experience. This article presents the findings from a study which explored the way in which fidelity influences the sense of immersion and learning transfer experienced by novice and experienced practitioners in technology-assisted simulation-based learning exercises.
Two different technology-assisted simulation-based learning exercises were explored employing participant surveys and interviews. The central aim of the exercises, conducted by an Australian police agency was the development of decision-making skills for high-risk and high-stakes situations. Case one centred on public order management for highly experienced senior police and Case Two was a judgmental use-of-force simulation for novice police recruits with limited or nil operational experience.
The findings indicate experienced practitioners did not suggest a need to actually see a replicated site of the incident with the human and environmental elements and sounds. They relied on their policing experience to build their own visualization of the situation. It is the combination of this personal visualization with the psychological factors of the simulated incident which created a realistic environment for these experienced practitioners. For the novice practitioners – they relied on the simulation exercise and environmental features to be as realistic and extensive as possible in order to experience immersion and presence.
This study supports the suggestion that measuring how much fidelity is enough or too much is complex, and a unit of measurement could reasonably be identified as determining the balance of physical and psychological fidelity, informed by the field-based experience of the participants, which will support learning transfer from the classroom (or simulated environment) to the field of operation.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSimulation and Gaming: an international journal of theory, design and research
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Mar 2024


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