Practice architectures of simulation pedagogy: From fidelity to transformation

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Exploring Education and Professional Practice: Through the Lens of Practice Architectures, 2016, pp. 63 - 81
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© Springer Science+Business Media Singapore 2017. In this chapter, I put the theory of practice architectures to work in re-imagining simulation pedagogy in university-based professional education. I locate simulation within a broader landscape of links between higher education and the professions, before outlining key features of existing research on simulation in health professional education. This links to the empirical context underpinning the chapter: an observational study of simulation classes in an undergraduate nursing degree. I take up calls to enrich the theoretical basis for simulation pedagogy, and to shake off an attachment to the notion of ‘fidelity’. Weaving practice architecture theory with Baudrillard’s concepts of hyperreality and simulacra, I analyse three moments from observed simulation classes. I show how these are constituted as productive pedagogic moments, not through a logic of mirroring stable realities of practice, but through much more fluid play between real and imagined worlds. This provides a basis from which to pinpoint the transformative potential of simulation, avoiding the traps of conservatism that accompany a view that is too closely tied to a fixed, stable reality referent. This involves a shift from simulation (re)creating practice architectures and practices based on an ‘as if’ logic, to simulation based on a ‘what if’ notion, where cultural-discursive, material-economic, and socio-political arrangements of both real and imagined practices come together, interwoven with those of responsive, emergent pedagogy.
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