Zero-Fidelity Simulation of Fire Emergency Response: Improving Team Coordination Learning Conference Paper uri icon


  • Fire emergency responders rely on team coordination to survive and succeed in high-stress environments, but traditional education does not directly teach these essential skills. Prior simulations seek the highest possible fidelity, employing resources to capture concrete characteristics of operating environments. We take a different tack, hypothesizing that a zero-fidelity approach, focusing on human-centered aspects of work practice, will improve team coordination learning. Such an approach promotes simulation focus by developing an alternative environment that stimulates participants to engage in distributed cognition. The costs of simulation development are reduced. To supplement preparation for burn training exercises, 28 fire emergency response students played the Teaching Team Coordination game (T2eC), a zero-fidelity simulation of the distributed cognition of fire emergency response work practice. To test our hypothesis, we develop quantitative evaluation methods for impact on team coordination learning through measures of communication efficiency and cooperative activity. Results show that participants improve cooperation, become more efficient communicators, differentiate team roles through communication, and leverage multiple communication modalities. Given the context of the study amidst the educational process, qualitative data from the students and their expert instructor supports the ecological validity of the contribution of the T2eC zero-fidelity simulation to fire emergency response education. Copyright 2011 ACM.

name of conference

  • Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Toups, Z. O., Kerne, A., Hamilton, W. A., & Shahzad, N.

citation count

  • 23

complete list of authors

  • Toups, Zachary O||Kerne, Andruid||Hamilton, William A||Shahzad, Nabeel

editor list (cited editors)

  • Tan, D. S., Amershi, S., Begole, B. o., Kellogg, W. A., & Tungare, M.

publication date

  • May 2011