PAXsims

Conflict simulation, peacebuilding, and development

Review: Salakari, The Simulator Instructor’s Handbook

Hannu Salakari, The Simulator Instructor’s Handbook. Eduskills Consulting 2011 (available via Granum). 86 pages .€38.75.

SIHThis book by Hannu Salakari seeks to “provide instructors with clear guidelines concerning the practical arrangement, planning, and development of simulator training.” Its three substantive chapters address the benefits of simulation-based training; the 15 most important principles of simulation-based training; and the role of debriefing and its relationship to learning. This is complemented by a glossary of key terms, and a very brief bibliography.

It is difficult to quibble with many of the quite sensible principles and ideas put forward in the volume. However, the work as a whole is rather skimpy, looking rather more like notes for a a conference presentation or the draft outline for a book project than an actual handbook. Ideas are never discussed in any depth. There are only a limited number of examples and illustrations. Ironically for a work that is supposed to be on issues of effective pedagogy, the handbook’s writing style and physical presentation is unengaging. The bibliography runs only to a page or so of sources, and isn’t likely to be of much help for anyone hoping to explore the existing literature on the topic. The volume also make very little explicit use of scholarly research to support its various suggestions and principles.

This wouldn’t matter much if the volume were available as, say, a free pdf or low-price eBook.  However, given its very high cover price (€38.75)—to which the Finnish distributor added a hefty €18 of additional postage—it is very far from free. For that price I would expect proper typesetting, more legible diagrams and illustrations, and much, much more substance.

Neophyte instructors who have suddenly been called upon to implement simulation-based training and who have absolutely no idea what they are doing might find this handbook of use. Most others, however, won’t find its limited contents worth the cost.

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