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Competency development today and beyond: Releasing the full potential of simulators to support the progression of train driver expertise

conference contribution
posted on 2017-12-06, 00:00 authored by Ganesh Balakrishnan, Anjum NaweedAnjum Naweed, Matthew ThomasMatthew Thomas, T Mildred, D Ward, D Dawson
Recently, adoption of competency-based training schemes in safety-critical domains has increased. This includes rail where performance-based models have steadily replaced the older experience- and time-based curricula. The advancement of technology has catalysed this change by introducing new opportunities for enhancing training delivery. Among these innovations, competency development in sitro (conducting training in controlled simulations of the work setting) has received considerable attention in workplace training. The uses of train driving simulators have been gradually expanding but if these simulators are to contribute more meaningfully within the newly espoused competency-based approach, it needs to be encompassed within a structured pedagogical framework that is more inclusive of the broad variety of learning that can take place at work. This paper reviews recent advances in simulator-based pedagogies and presents a new conceptual framework for the development of train driver expertise with an aim to set the stage for discussions and iterative development of comparable theoretical models. First, the paper will present a cross-domain literature review to synthesize the key findings associated with the development of contemporary simulators that have a pedagogic application. Second, the paper will delve deeper into and review the Multi-Crew Pilots Licence (MPL) simulator-based training scheme, recently established to develop the competencies of trainee airline pilots. Drawing upon these findings and supplementing them with current thinking on constructivist pedagogical theories, a prototype conceptual framework for train driver competency development will be modelled to demonstrate and discuss: (1) new potentialities in simulators' mediation of training & learning; (2) more flexibility in the way that theoretical and practical aspects of training syllabus, and training media are blended; and (3) a general need to foster theoretical and empirical research to continue studying how simulators could be integrated into train driver development curricula more effectively.


Category 1 - Australian Competitive Grants (this includes ARC, NHMRC)


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Milan, Italy



Place of Publication

Milan, Italy

Peer Reviewed

  • Yes

Open Access

  • No

External Author Affiliations

Sydac Pty Ltd.

Author Research Institute

  • Appleton Institute

Era Eligible

  • Yes

Name of Conference

World Congress on Railway Research

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