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Project

Knowledge Awareness for supporting the identification of solution-relevant case features

Knowledge Exchange Lab

Duration

January 2007 - open-end

Funding

Budget resources of KMRC, 01/2007-12/2008: Virtual Ph.D. Program "Knowledge acquisition and knowledge exchange with new media" of the German Research Foundation (DFG)

Description

Individual problem solvers often have difficulties in identifying structural similarities between already-solved source problems and unsolved target problems or cases, in order to transfer parts of the solution. Therefore, this project aims at supporting the identification of solution-relevant case features both in a collaborative and an individual setting by applying an innovative form of group awareness, namely, knowledge awareness (cf., Engelmann, Dehler, Bodemer & Buder, 2009). In this project, it is assumed that an individual problem solver can gain awareness in considerartion of another person’s task-relevant knowledge by being confronted with the individual allocation of target problems to source problems that another problem solver has created. Furthermore, we assume that being informed about an alternative allocation of target problems to source problems combined with the awareness regarding the source of this allocation has an impact on maintaining vs. changing one’s own allocation of target problems to source problems.
In a first study, two collaborators of a spatially separated dyad were presented with an external representation of the source problems each partner had retrieved from memory and allocated to target problems in order to apply the source problem's solution procedures to the target problem. The study showed that collaborating dyads are more confident in having the cases solved correctly, provided that the solution was correct compared to nominal dyads consisting of individual problem solvers. The results of this study were presented at three international conferences in 2008.
In a second study, we investigated in an individual setting whether the individual allocation of target problems to source problems can be improved by providing the problem solver with an alternative allocation whose source is varied. Problem solvers compared their own allocation of target problems to source problems with an additional, partly correct allocation, whereby either a former problem solver or a textbook were named as source. The baseline was not provided with an additional allocation of target problems to source problems. The presentation of an additional allocation of target problems to source problems led to a stronger adaptation of one's own case allocation to the presented if a textbook was indicated as the source, compared to a former problem solver indicated as source. After being provided with an additional case allocation, both conditions improved the correctness of their own case allocation in combination with their confidence of having the target problems allocated correctly compared to the baseline. The additional case allocation, however, had neither an impact on recognizing case features nor on solving a new case. A third study is planned.