ERIC Number: ED241720
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1984-Feb-10
Reference Count: N/A
How Experts and Nonexperts Operate Electronic Equipment from Instructions. Technical Report No. 14.
Kieras, David E.; And Others
Three questions were addressed in a Navy experiment in which subjects followed instructions to complete tasks involving several pieces of electronic equipment. First, two instructional formats were compared; a hierarchical menu format containing natural chunks of instruction was not superior overall to a simple step-by-step instructional format. The menu format was superior only if the subject was familiar with the type of device and was sometimes substantially inferior otherwise. Second, experts were compared to nonexperts, found to be faster overall, and able to operate equipment with fewer instructions in the menu condition. They were also faster when complex physical actions were involved. Thus, there were both specific and general effects of expertise. Finally, evidence was sought that knowledge of how to operate equipment was schematic. It was expected that, when subjects in the menu format condition operated a device without selecting any instructions to read, their sequence of action should correspond to stereotyped schema-like patterns. This occurred only weakly, suggesting that even experts operate everyday devices in a problem-solving mode, rather than by retrieved complete procedures. (Author/KC)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Naval Research, Arlington, VA. Personnel and Training Research Programs Office.
Authoring Institution: Arizona Univ., Tucson, Dept. of Psychology.