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Formal Learning From Escape Narratives Through The Creation And Use Of Table-Top Simulations; Behavioral And Organizational Dimensions Of Underground Mine Fires
  • Published Date:
    1/1/2000
Filetype[PDF-443.52 KB]


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  • Description:
    This book has employed miners' narratives to illustrate basic concepts about the escape process. One of the most powerful means by which people make sense of their experiences is through the telling and internalization of stories [Bruner 1990]. By couching one's own and others' motives and actions in terms of a coherent narrative, a person is able to learn from mistakes and plan future behaviors that may help ensure survival. A growing body of research suggests that decision-making skills used to deal with emergency situations can be taught and assessed by simulations based on narratives from the real world [Bransford et al. 1986; Brecke 1982; Brener 1984; Connolly et al. 1989; Halff et al. 1986; Jones and Keith 1983; Lacefield and Cole 1986]. Such techniques have been used to address the decision-making of medical personnel, civil and military flight crews, and even people involved in broader life events such as political and military situations [Babbott and Halter 1983; Dugdale et al. 1982; Farrand et al. 1982; Gilbert 1975; McGuire 1985; McGuire et al. 1976; Flathers et al. 1982; Giffin and Rockwell 1984; Jensen 1982; Janis and Mann 1987]. Given the validity of this method of study and the promise it holds for helping people improve the quality of their responses to nonroutine occurrences, it is perhaps surprising that there have been no studies of emergency decision-making among blue-collar workers prior to those conducted by the present authors and their colleagues. The purpose of this chapter is to describe underground coal miners' decision-making performance on a table-top simulation whose problem structure is derived from interviews with a group of eight miners who escaped from the 5 Left section at Brownfield Mine. The exercise was constructed by a panel of domain experts (mine safety and rescue personnel) with the assistance of an educational psychologist. The simulation includes actual predicaments with wise and unwise decision alternatives that, in the opinion of these domain experts, are characteristic of such escapes. Results reported in this chapter are the scores of a sample of experienced mine workers who completed the simulation. Because the exercise is a series of objective performance tasks coupled with detailed and immediate feedback, this simulation can be used to teach and refresh critical escape skills, as well as to provide data concerning the proficiency of miners at the time of exercise administration.

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