Michael D. McNeese
Cognitive Systems Engineering Laboratory. Institute for Ergonomics.
The Ohio State University. Columbus, OH
Work is becoming increasingly contingent upon teams that reduce complexity while performing under constant time pressure. One aspect of teamwork - mutual learning - is seen as a critical variable for team members to (1) make sense of a problem's context (2) converge multiple perspectives to a solution space (3) transfer problem-salient knowledge from one context to another. This paper reports on the use of protocol analysis to contrast individual and cooperative work processes for a situated learning environment. Findings show that the planning problem affords different types of activities for mutual versus individual learning which affect the transfer of learning in unique ways.
Collective induction ( Laughlin, 1989) is a salient work process for understanding what makes sense in teamwork and mutual learning. It may be thought of as a catalyst which reinforces synergistic interaction among team members where ideas, knowledge, and strategies are disseminated to each member. This is a form of generative learning whereby members engage in active discussions and explanations rather than just passively receive information. Collective induction highlights elements from Gray ( 1989) studies of real world teamwork as it focuses on team members: a) seeing different aspects of a problem, b) exploring their differences, c) jointly searching for problems and solutions, and d) progressing beyond their own limited vision. When one generates knowledge as part of problem solving, their knowledge is less likely to remain inert and is more likely be spontaneously accessed for future endeavors ( Bransford, Sherwood, Hasselbring, Kinzer, &