Using a Cognitive Model to Provide Instruction for a Dynamic Task

Abstract

The current study used the Space Fortress game (Donchin, 1989) to study the effects of training and instruction in acquisition of complex skills. The game requires flexible coordination of perceptual, cognitive and motor components in a dynamically changing environment. We examined whether effective instruction can be developed for such a task in the same way that instruction is developed for academic tasks. Instruction was developed for certain aspects of the game based on a set of explicit procedural rules in an ACT-R model that plays the game. Participants who were given these instructions were significantly better at handling those aspects of the game that the instructions targeted. The results indicate that it is possible to perform a task analysis of a dynamic task, develop explicit instructions from the analysis, and improve target skills. The results further provide implications for designing training and instructional systems for dynamic skill acquisition.


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