A Framework for Human-Technology Social Systems: The Role of Inter-Personal Interactions

A Framework for Human-Technology Social Systems: The Role of Inter-Personal Interactions

Monika Lohani (University of Utah, USA), Eric G. Poitras (University of Utah, USA) and Charlene Stokes (The MITRE Corporation, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-0249-5.ch014


Advancements in semi- and fully-autonomous systems have made human-technology interaction a dynamic and social process. In this chapter, the authors highlight the importance of interpersonal interactions between human and technology and how they can be modeled, tracked, and fostered in the context of adaptive instructional systems. They will first introduce a human-technology social systems framework, which integrates individual factors (human and technology), situational factors (e.g., stress), and team interaction-relevant factors (e.g., communication and team cognition) that contribute to various team-related outcomes (e.g., learning and performance). Using examples from interactive virtual agents and educational technology, they discuss attributes of technology that should be considered to optimize joint learning and performance in applied contexts. The proposed framework points to novel research directions and is likely to offer an understanding of mechanisms that could enhance learning opportunities in diverse socioemotional contexts.
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An Overview Of The Human-Technology Social Systems Framework

Human-technology interactions are dynamic and complex. With everyday interactive technologies on the rise, it has become increasingly important to understand how human-technology relationships can be shaped to improve effective use of technology through an integration of technical and non-technical factors. We define technical factors as task-relevant abilities and non-technical factors as cognitive, social, and emotional abilities that are crucial for successful interactions with humans (Anderson, Jensen, Lippert, & Østergaard, 2010; Buljac-Samardzic, Dekker-van Doorn, van Wijngaarden, & van Wijk, 2010; Flin and Maran 2004; Mathieu, Maynard, Rapp, & Gilson, 2008; Salas et al., 2008). A lack of consideration of non-technical factors can lead to poor performance, accidents, and error (Flin, Glavin, & Patey, 2003; Hancock et al., 2011; Schaefer et al., 2016). While much progress has been made in building technical capabilities in technologies, development of non-technical skills is still in its infancy. Little is known about how non-technical skills could be effectively embedded in technology. Seminal work on interpersonal intelligence can inform a way to embed non-technical skills in technology. Interpersonal intelligence is an ability to understand, interact, and relate to other people (Gardner, 1983; Gardner & Moran, 2006). It is considered essential for social functioning, including working with others to meet shared goals (e.g., Connell, Sheridan, & Garner, 2004). Lessons learned from interpersonal intelligence can inform and build non-technical capabilities in human-technology interactions, as we discuss further.

Figure 1.

Human-Technology social systems framework


Key Terms in this Chapter

Non-Technical Skills: Non-technical skills are cognitive, social, and emotional abilities that are fundamental in human interaction. From an educational technology perspective, an example would be the socioemotional learning methods that a technology may adopt to help students manage their emotional reactions (e.g., frustration).

Human-Technology Team: A set of two or more members who interact dynamically, interdependently, and adaptively toward a common and valued goal. Inherent in this definition is the assumption that at least one of the team members will be technology-based and that this technology is intelligent or autonomous to a sufficient degree for a dynamic interaction with human team member(s).

Technical Skills: Technical skills are generally referred to any task-specific skills that an individual or technology was trained to execute. An example of technical skills from automation industry would be to have skills to drive a vehicle. From an educational technology perspective, an example is capability of a technology designed to teach coding. The technology would need to have the technical skills to know how to introduce the concept of coding to a student, use helpful examples and visuals so that a student can learn to code.

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