Training Novices on Hierarchical Task Analysis
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The training of a complex task such as task analysis is an area that very few have explored. This study examines how different training methods affect knowledge acquisition, focusing on content learned and errors made by novices in the initial phase of learning of Hierarchical Task Analysis (HTA). Three types of declarative instructions were compared: procedures, decision/actions, and concept map, which were representative of different types of diagrams (matrix, network, hierarchy). Participants were assigned to one of the training conditions and instructed to perform task analyses of five different tasks (making a piece of toast, making a cup of coffee, painting a door, making a phone call, and making Vetkoek - a South African main course). Questionnaire data (declarative knowledge) and task analyses (procedural knowledge) were coded on five criteria: hierarchical representation, stating high-level goal, stating plan, stating subgoals, and satisfaction criteria. Results indicated that participants identified some criteria (goals, subgoals) more often than others as being representative of HTA (hierarchical representation). Furthermore, the nature of the task had a greater effect on the knowledge acquired about HTA than the differences in training material at this early stage of learning. During initial training of HTA it is important that more detailed instruction materials be distributed to allow for greater understanding of HTA. This study informs research about various types of diagrams and also adds to the literature on training HTA.