Temporality Tensions in the Design of Simulation-Based Training: The Case of the “Tall Grass” Local-To-State Disaster Response Exercise (Working Title)

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Abstract

The communication-as-design perspective has advanced the view that, as groups organize the activities of individuals, group members co-design how they will communicate as they work together to pursue their shared goals (Aakhus & Jackson, 2005). Scholars have advanced theoretical aspects of communication-as-design by explicating the role of competing design logics (cite) and by proposing how group members evaluate and adopt particular communication techniques (Barbour et al., 2018). <br><br>When simulations are used a method of training (i.e., simulation-based training), the people planning the training session explicitly discuss and decide on elements of the design of the simulation, such as the scenario that will be presented to learners and the technical skills that they want learners to practice. Simultaneously, and often implicitly, the people planning the training session are also designing how they intend for learners to communicate with one another during the simulation. They may intend for some aspects of learners’ communication to mimic what they view as realistic or desirable in a real-world situation. They may intend for other aspects of learners’ communication to be unrealistic or artificial in order to fit the constraints of the simulation’s design. Lastly, on the training day when the simulation occurs, learners may actually communicate in completely different ways, reflecting the learners’ influence on the communication design of the exercise. All of these design logics have the potential to influence what learners take away from the training and how they subsequently communicate in real-world interactions. <br><br>This study focuses on one particular arena of tension in design logics, common to many forms of simulation-based training: temporality tensions. Building on Ballard and Seibold’s work on organizational temporality (2003), Ballard and McVey proposed that temporality is always part of the design of communication (2014). Ballard and McVey advocated for closer study of “the designable features of temporality for human interaction,” particularly in the context of work activities (p. 191). For this study, the authors conducted a qualitative case study of a disaster response exercise that involved fifteen local and state level public safety agencies. From planning to implementation to the after-action review, tensions related to time and timing (i.e., temporality) manifested competing logics of collective communication design. <br><br>
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Applied Communication Research
StateSubmitted - 1800

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