Cognitive Ergonomics in 2016

Cognitive Ergonomics in 2016

Ronald John Lofaro (Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7362-3.ch019
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Cognitive ergonomics deals with decision making, skilled performance(s), and training. This chapter will show what began as a cognitive task analysis (CTA) for identifying critical skills needed for skilled performance, with decision making involved in every step. Over the years, it evolved into a paradigm that extended far beyond a CTA. With the advances in technology, especially communication technologies, some of this paradigm has re-emerged in what are termed estimate-talk-estimate (ETE) efforts, which can be web-based. ETE's are aimed at forecasting, decision making, even policymaking. This chapter will show how to integrate the elements of paradigm cited above with elements of Pareto analysis ETE in order to use today's technology to achieve extremely accurate results across many venues. The model that results from this integration will be used on three current problem areas to show how decisions can be made on standards, policy, and training needs. The problem areas encompass national education standards, aviation and operational testing (OT), and evaluation.
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Knowledge engineering (KE) has been defined as follows: “... an engineering discipline that involves integrating knowledge into computer systems in order to solve complex problems normally requiring a high level of human expertise.” (Feigenbaum and McCorduck, 1983). For a succinct overview of KE, see Studer, Benjamins and Fensel (1998). Knowledge engineering is also linked to cognitive science and socio-cognitive engineering where the knowledge is produced by socio-cognitive aggregates (mainly humans); this was one rationale for the SGDP. A newer term, cognitive engineering (CE), includes mental workload, decision-making, skilled performance, human-computer interaction, human reliability, work stress and training as these may relate to human-system design. There is not only great overlap with KE but, almost an isomorphism. Therefore, CE has mainly replaced KE as the term used in such efforts. Cognitive Ergonomics deals with decision-making and focuses on the fit between human cognitive abilities and limitations and the task. As such, it can be viewed as a portion of a Venn diagram Universe that includes Cognitive Engineering, again with definite overlapping.

Delphi Processes

A subset of CE is the Delphi technique/process. Traditional Delphi techniques include anonymity of response, multiple iterations, convergence of the distribution of answers and, a statistical group response (Judd, 1972). A seminal paper on the Delphi process was written by a then-Rand Corporation employee (Brown, 1968) and may be available from Rand or from American Society of Tool and Manufacturing Engineers (ASTME), now known as Society of Manufacturing Engineers. It would seem clear that Cognitive Ergonomics can avail itself of Delphi processes

Key Terms in this Chapter

United States Federal Aviation Administration Regulations (FAR): All are in the Combined Federal Regulations (CFR), Title 14, Aeronautics and Space; each a descriptive title and number; they are legally binding.

(United States) Common Core Standards (Initiative): The Common Core State Standards Initiative is an educational assembly in the United States that details what K-12 students should know in subject areas focused on English language arts and mathematics at the end of each grade. What has been produced is a set of standards by subject and federal government will fund states to incorporate these standards into teaching curricula. This has begun to draw criticism and generate controversy as a method of federal control of education.

Estimate-Talk-Estimate (ETE) Delphi Process: Any Delphi process is based on the principle that forecasts from a structured group of experts are more accurate than those from unstructured groups or individuals. The technique has lately been adapted for use in face-to-face meetings, and is then called mini-Delphi or Estimate-Talk-Estimate (ETE) Delphi.

Small Group Delphi Paradigm (SGDP): A variant Delphi model based on traditional Delphi processes, as developed and refined from 1985 through 1992 by the author. Its core features are multiple face-to-face sessions of small groups of carefully selected SME's, always with a facilitator and a step- through set of iterations to achieve consensus, not statistical sharpening.

United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Advisory Circulars (AC): The FAA normally publishes advisory circulars (ACs) designed to provide assistance and guidelines in complying with FARs; they serve as a “how to” template. The AC’s are titled and numbered and are not legally binding.

Groupthink: Groupthink, a term coined by social psychologist Irving Janis (1972) AU23: The in-text citation "Irving Janis (1972)" is not in the reference list. Please correct the citation, add the reference to the list, or delete the citation. , occurs when a group makes faulty decisions because of group pressures; groupthink is a psychological phenomenon that occurs within a group of people, in which the desire for harmony or conformity in the group results in an incorrect or deviant decision-making outcome.

Domain Expert: A person with special knowledge or skills in a particular area of endeavor. The term domain expert is frequently used in expert systems software development.

Pareto Analysis: A technique used for decision making based on the Pareto Principle, known as the 80/20 rule. It is a decision-making technique that separates a limited number of input factors as having the greatest impact on an outcome, either desirable or undesirable. In its simplest terms, Pareto analysis will typically show that a disproportionate improvement can be achieved by ranking various causes of a problem and by concentrating on those solutions or items with the largest impact. This type of decision-making can be used in many fields of endeavor, from government policy to decision-making.

Group dynamics: The interactions that influence the attitudes and behavior of people when they are grouped with others through either choice or accidental circumstances. Social psychologist Kurt Lewin coined the term group dynamics to describe the positive and negative forces within groups.

Subject Matter Expert (SME): An individual who exhibits the highest level of expertise in performing a specialized job, task, or skill within the organization.

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