Human-Computer Interaction Gearing Up for Work

Article excerpt

Introduction

This project aims to capture the efficiencies of human-computer interaction (HCI) to enhance jobsearching outcomes for people undergoing vocational rehabilitation programmes. Web-based employment service provision can provide open, flexible and distributed access for people who may experience difficulty in returning to work after a long absence. The environmental context of this research is unique, because it addresses the needs of people who suffer negative cognitive effects from long-term unemployment.

The main objective of this project is to provide a context for collaborative educational research that involves corporate/ academia/government sector partnerships. This project is designed to build a user friendly Web-Portal that brings together understanding employers, offering appropriate job opportunities, with unemployed people who require assistance in finding work. Custom designed, this new system will reflect real world issues faced by specialized placement agencies and their clients alike. Finding employers who are willing to become involved in a work place rehabilitation programme is a sensitive issue and will require much patience. Consequently the

specifications for this project take a simple approach in order to remain manageable.

The discussion in this paper will first identify the actual research question. The strength of the research team will be identified to convey the multidisciplinary theoretical framework that supports this innovative project. The project objectives are outlined, followed by the project methodology and research plan. It will be revealed that the system development phase did not run smoothly. Valuable lessons learned are noted for future research projects that involve building a system prototype. Summarized conclusions will draw this paper to a close, with suggestions for further research.

Research Question

It is all very well to devise an innovative learning system; complete with all the multimedia bells and whistles, however, the research team is cognizant of the need to allow for the pebble-in-thepond phenomenon, where the central reason for creating a specialized Web-Portal needs to be examined (Merrill, 2002). Much work is needed before the courseware design process can commence (Merrill, 2001).

The major research question to be examined by this project is:

What is the most effective use of ICT in a Web-Portal that implements a work searching system for the long-term unemployed?

Researchers' Record

Online Web-mediated instruction has emerged as an effective tool in bringing about a knowledgesharing culture, which links the professional practice and education sectors (Driscoll, Bucceri, Reed & Finn, 2001). The challenge of HCI has forced us to think of new ways to understand the social, historical and contextual nature of learning (Moreno, 2001), representing an interdisciplined knowledge synthesis. HCI comprises elements of computer science, cognitive psychology, social and organization psychology, ergonomics, human factors, artificial intelligence, linguistics, philosophy, sociology, anthropology, engineering and design (Preece, 1994). This research proposal clearly sits within the HCI domain and incorporates many of these necessary elements.

Overall this project takes a solution based approach drawing on information communications technologies (ICT) through a carefully designed HCI framework whereby appropriate use of technology will provide an informational leverage for those people in the community most often left behind. The collective strength of the research team provides a synthesis of special skills and knowledge to provide an interesting mix of theoretical perspectives needed to design a customized work-searching tool.

The Web-Portal development team consists of three across faculty academics from: Business, Applied Science and Constructed Environment. …