Knowledge Transfer in Conceptual Modeling by End Users

Knowledge Transfer in Conceptual Modeling by End Users

Laku Chidambaram (Indiana University, USA)
Copyright: © 1999 |Pages: 12
DOI: 10.4018/joeuc.1999010105
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Abstract

Organizations could benefit greatly if the accumulated expertise that end users have in building spreadsheet models could be used as a springboard to help them learn new modeling formalisms. This ability to transfer knowledge from a familiar instance to an unfamiliar one is referred to as analogical reasoning. This study examined empirically whether analogical reasoning can be an effective training tool in helping end users learn two formal modeling techniques—Structured Modeling and Influence Diagramming. A secondary outcome of the study was to evaluate whether end users with differing experiences would perform better with one modeling technique than with the other. Results showed that only the interaction between modeling technique and previous spreadsheet modeling experience had a significant impact on modeling performance. These results suggest that analogical reasoning—which underlies modeling by analogy—worked in one case (structured modeling) but not in another (influence diagramming). Specifically, in structured modeling there was a positive transfer of knowledge from previous spreadsheet modeling experiences. On the other hand, in influence diagramming, no transfer of knowledge occurred (and none was required) as the new technique was comprehensible enough to be learned on its own merits by novices and experts alike. These results suggest that tailor-made training programs—recognizing the individual experiences and needs of end users—offer the best model management strategy for firms.

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