Training and learning during the introduction of an interactive computer-aided building design system into government design offices
The tasks and levels of achievement involved in learning to use an integrated, interactive computer-aided building design (CABD) system are described.
During the introduction of the system into multi-professional design offices situated in different parts of the country, alternative methods of training were considered. These ranged from ad hoc individualized tuition and intensive design exercises to the investigation of prototype computer-aided learning ‘System Tutor’ software. Several levels of user support were provided including advice over the telephone, provision of job aids and documentation together with diagnostics built into the system itself.
A preliminary evaluation of learning performance is made from retrospective examination of hard copy records of user interaction with the system. Errors per command typed, and measures of ‘mental set’ and of ‘fluent use of the input language’ seem, on the basis of the limited data available, to discriminate adequately between experienced users and trainees. Such measures appear suitable for automatic monitoring of the lower levels of learning achievement. Efficient strategic use of design systems is much more difficult to teach or assess, however.
Only ad hoc tuition and practice were monitored and it is recommended strongly that systematic comparisons be undertaken, in real life conditions, of alternative methods of training and support. Heuristics should be sought that can be used to develop improved computer-based teaching aids for use with CAD.
KeywordsSystem Tutor User Support Command Language Design Office Skilled User
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