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Cognitive Task Analysis in Interacting Cognitive Subsystems
May, J., & BARNARD, P.
In Diaper, D. & Stanton, N, (Eds.) The Handbook of Task Analysis for HCI. Hillsdale: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates , 291-325
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Cognitive Task Analysis (CTA) techniques seek to model the mental activity of a task operator. With the rise of computing artefacts, the focus of CTA has changed from supporting the tutoring of operators, to modelling knowledge application, to modelling cognitive processes. Descendants of knowledge based approaches include GOMS, and produce quantitative temporal behavioural predictions for well defined interfaces. The increasing pace of design, and the dominance of small design teams has led to a demand for more flexible techniques. This chapter describes a particular approach to CTA using a cognitive theory called Interacting Cognitive Subsystems (ICS). A CTA in ICS requires a prior task analysis to have been conducted, but the analyst then identifies the configuration of cognitive processes necessary to transform information about the task, through the phases of goal formation, action specification and action execution, for novices, occasional (normal) and expert operators. The availability of procedural knowledge, experiential and abstracted memories influence the ease of processing, and the scope a design offers for their development informs ease of learning and skill acquisition. The location of a particular form of buffered processing predicts subjective awareness of different aspects of the task, and of task complexity. Two notations supporting analysis are described. The close coupling of the analytic approach and the underlying theory enables a CTA in ICS to provide supportive evaluation, allowing iterative redesign. It is also allowing further research linking ICS to formal models of systems analysis (Syndetics) and to other methods of TA, namely TKS, to extend both techniques to collaborative and multiple task performance. Was wrongly titled: Cognitive Task Analysis: in HPR 47