Summary Statement Fidelity has become a ubiquitous feature of discourse in simulation studies. Recent studies have highlighted the often ambiguous and contradictory manner in which fidelity has been defined, with each definition emphasizing different physical and functional features of simulation. We suggest that regarding fidelity as an objective property of a simulation obscures the interactive nature of the educator-learner relationship and should be abandoned. Rather than conceiving training as tasks performed by an individual in isolation, we suggest that it is more accurately understood as the social learning of affordances. Affordances represent the functional features of a simulator, which are taken as relevant in a specific learning context by means of analogy. Training is successful to the extent that educators and learners share an understanding of those affordances. Even when explicitly formulated, the concept of fidelity has greater difficulty accounting for the complex, interactional features of the training situation in comparison with accounts based on social learning. We conclude that continued attempts to redefine and use fidelity in the context of training will likely yield little benefit to the field compared with an interactive social learning framework.

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Keywords functional task alignment, health care professions education, joint attention, learner assessment, simulator fidelity, task affordances
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Journal Simulation in Healthcare
Schoenherr, J.R, & Hamstra, S.J. (Stanley J.). (2017). Beyond fidelity: Deconstructing the seductive simplicity of fidelity in simulator-based education in the health care professions. Simulation in Healthcare (Vol. 12, pp. 117–123). doi:10.1097/SIH.0000000000000226