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A Cognitive Design for User Assistance 2: Empowering User/Learners Through Cognitive Development


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Slides from the second of three webinars sponsored by Adobe (Thanks), This one gives the theoretical basis for the ideas developed in the series, and shows their relationship to user assistance, especially minimalism. It ends with a demonstration of how you can embed conceptual information in DITA task topics without breaking the semantic architecture. Recording of complete webinar at

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A Cognitive Design for User Assistance 2: Empowering User/Learners Through Cognitive Development

  1. 1. A Cognitive Design for User Assistance 2:  Empowering  User/Learners  Through     Cognitive  Development  RAY  GALLON  CULTURECOM Member, Board of Directors Presentation  ©  2012-­‐2013  Ray  Gallon  all  rights  reserved  
  2. 2. Everything We Know… !  Get  straight  to  procedures   !   Don t  waste  user s  time  with  unnecessary   detail,  especially  concepts   !   Procedural  information  must  be  separated   from  conceptual  information.     Presentation  ©  2012-­‐2013  Ray  Gallon  all  rights  reserved  
  3. 3. Empowering the User:! Double Embeddedness l u ra c ed nce ro sta p i e In  the  first  session,  we  explored   d th be Ass ntoEm er i ideas  for  improving  the  cognitive   U s t l y a ce r ec terf Embed simple value  of  user  assistance.       di In concep ts dir ectly into 
 Proced ures Presentation*©*2012/2013*Ray*Gallon*all*rights*reserved* Integrated Competency Learning! +*Cognitive*construction* and*process*reasoning* +Socio/cultural*construction* (information**sharing,*mentoring)* User ! If  you  couldn’t  attend,  there  is  a   Learning Space! WHERE IN THIS SPACE ! DO YOU WANT YOUR USERS?! recording  at     +Code:*Mastery*of*the**   +Thematic*knowledge* language,*interface,* (SME)* iconography...* ...AND WHEN????! +*Individually*significant* contextualisation*(contingency)* +Procedural* Memorisation* Presentation  ©  2012-­‐2013  Ray  Gallon  all  rights  reserved   Presentation*©*2012/2013*Ray*Gallon*all*rights*reserved* Adapted*by*Dr.*Neus*Lorenzo*from*Phil*Ball**Keith*Kelly*(2009)**Ref:******
  4. 4. Cognitive Bases: Gestalt Psychology •  Gestalt  psychology  tries  to   understand  the  laws  of  our  ability  to   acquire  and  maintain  stable   percepts  in  a  noisy  world.     •  The  brain  is  holistic,  parallel,  and   analog,  with  self-­‐organizing   tendencies.     •  The  human  eye  sees  objects  in  their   entirety  before  perceiving  their   individual  parts,  suggesting  the   whole  is  “other”  than  the  sum  of  its   parts.       Presentation  ©  2012-­‐2013  Ray  Gallon  all  rights  reserved  Source:
  5. 5. Cognitive Bases: Gestalt Psychology •  REIFICATION:   •  A  triangle  will  be  perceived  in   picture  A,  although  no  triangle   has  actually  been  drawn.     •  In  pictures  B  and  D  the  eye  will   recognize  disparate  shapes  as   belonging  to  a  single  shape.   •  In  C  a  complete  three-­‐ dimensional  shape  is  seen,   where  in  actuality  no  such   thing  is  drawn.   In  other  words,  we  fill  in  the  blank  spaces  to  complete  them.   John  Carroll  favours  this  kind  of  inferential  learning  in  minimalism.   Presentation  ©  2012-­‐2013  Ray  Gallon  all  rights  reserved  Sources: Wikipedia,
  6. 6. Gestalt Grouping Principles are Used in User Interface Design •  Proximity:  when  an  individual   perceives  an  assortment  of   objects  they  perceive  objects  that   are  close  to  each  other  as  forming   a  group.   •  Similarity:  elements  within  an   assortment  of  objects  will  be   perceptually  grouped  together  if   As  individuals  perceive  the  world,   they  are  similar  to  each  other.     they  eliminate  complexity  and   unfamiliarity  in  order  to  observe  a   reality  in  its  most  simplistic  form.     •  See  also,  James  L.  Gibson’s  idea   The  elimination  of  extraneous  stimuli   of  affordance.   aids  the  mind  in  creating  meaning.     Presentation  ©  2012-­‐2013  Ray  Gallon  all  rights  reserved  Source:
  7. 7. Cognitive Bases: Constructivism •  Allows  the  learner  to  experience  an  environment  first-­‐ hand,  thereby  giving  the  student  reliable,  trust-­‐ worthy  knowledge.     •  The  learner  is  required  to  act  upon  the  environment   to  both  acquire  and  test  new  knowledge.   •  Learners  are  self-­‐directed,  creative,  and  innovative.   •  Instructors  are  facilitators,  not  teachers.   •  The  context  in  which  the  learning  occurs  is  central  to   the  learning  itself     •  Learning  is  an  active,  social  process.   •  Learners  should  collaborate  to  arrive  at  shared   understanding.   •  This  social  approach  has  developed  into…   Presentation  ©  2012-­‐2013  Ray  Gallon  all  rights  reserved  Source:
  8. 8. Cognitive Bases: Connectivism – the Underpinning of Kanban Information •  Knowledge  is  activated  in  the  world  as  much  as  in   the  head  of  an  individual.  •  It  exists  within  systems  which  are  accessed  through   people  participating  in  activities.  •  Learning  is  the  process  of  creating  connections  and   elaborating  a  network.  In  this  metaphor,  a  node  is   anything  that  can  be  connected  to  another  node   such  as  an  organisation,  information,  data,  feelings   and  images.    •  The  network  metaphor  allows  a  notion  of  know-­‐ where  (understanding  where  to  find  knowledge   when  it  is  needed)  to  supplement  know-­‐how  and   know-­‐what  that  make  the  cornerstones  of  many   theories  of  learning.   Presentation  ©  2012-­‐2013  Ray  Gallon  all  rights  reserved  Source:
  9. 9. Cognitive Bases: Connectivism – the Underpinning of Kanban Information K ANB AN IN FO •  Knthe  world  as  mRM s  in  •  Knowledge  is  activated  in   ow   uch  aAT the  head  of  an  individual.   wher e   ION:   •  Kn ow  ho•  w It  exists  within  systems  which  are  accessed  through   •  in  activities.     people  participating   Know  what•  •  + K o   Learning  is  the  process  n f  creating  connections  and   ow  w elaborating  a  network.  In  this  metaphor,  a  node  is   h n Impbe  connected  eo    another  node   anything  that  can   l t ied:! information,  data,  feelings   such  as  an  organisation,   and  images.     •  +K now  h ow     o The  network  metaphor  allows  atnotion  of  know-­‐ •  + K•  now  h  be   where  (understanding  where  to  find  knowledge   ow  to know-­‐how  and    b when  it  is  needed)  to  supplement   e  w know-­‐what  that  make  the  cornerstones  otheany   ith   f  m theories  of  learning.   rs   Presentation  ©  2012-­‐2013  Ray  Gallon  all  rights  reserved  Source:
  10. 10. Basic Principles of Connectivism •  Learning  and  knowledge  rests  in  diversity  of  opinions.   •  Learning  is  a  process  of  connecting  specialized  nodes  or  information   sources.   •  Learning  may  reside  in  non-­‐human  appliances.   •  Learning  is  more  critical  than  knowing.   •  Maintaining  and  nurturing  connections  is  needed  to  facilitate  continual   learning.   •  Perceiving  connections  between  fields,  ideas  and  concepts  is  a  core  skill.   •  Currency  (accurate,  up-­‐to-­‐date  knowledge)  is  the  intent  of  learning   activities.   •  Decision-­‐making  is  itself  a  learning  process.  Choosing  what  to  learn  and  the   meaning  of  incoming  information  is  seen  through  the  lens  of  a  shifting   reality.  While  there  is  a  right  answer  now,  it  may  be  wrong  tomorrow  due   to  alterations  in  the  information  climate  affecting  the  decision.   Presentation  ©  2012-­‐2013  Ray  Gallon  all  rights  reserved  Source:
  11. 11. Basic Principles of Connectivism •  Learning  and  knowledge  rests  in  diversity  of  opinions.   s.   ces r  information   •  Learning  is  a  process  of  connecting  specialized  ro i p nodes  o  of   ng   ing  a   s  of it   sources.   rn e appliances.   an a  le e  m elf   d  th  len w,    the r  no •  Learning  may  reside  in  non-­‐human  a shan  knowing.   is  it n  an ng   ear ugh swe i nurturing  connections    is  heeded  to  aacilitate  continual     •  Learning  is  more  critical  t ro knd    l -­‐ma t  to tn n een  right   f ions  in  the ion •  Maintaining  a learning.   ha ecis ng  w on  is  s  is  a rat .   si ati thfi re rm ile   e D •  Perceiving  connections  between  eelds,  ideas  ond  lctoncepts  is  a  core  skill.   t a  a ecision hoo ingaccurate,  uWh date  knowledge)  is  the    intent  of  learning   C•  Currency  (   info   p-­‐to-­‐ ue   w  d  the d om reality. morro ting inc ng   activities.   ifti  wrong ate  aff p  toa  learning  erocess.  Choosing  what  to  learn  and  the   c sh •  Decision-­‐making  is  itself    be there  clam answer  now,  it  may  be  wrong  tomorrow  due   meaning  of  incoming  iinformation  is  seen  through  the  lens  of  a  shifting   reality.  While   ion   is    right   ay malterations  in  the  information  climate  affecting  the  decision.   at to   inf orm Presentation  ©  2012-­‐2013  Ray  Gallon  all  rights  reserved  Source:
  12. 12. Having Lots of Resources is not always a solution... Hidden  User   Assistance  is  no   Help  at  all!   Not  Read  =  Hidden   Read  and  not  understood  =  Hidden  … IF YOU DON’T HAVE ADEQUATE KNOWLEDGE OF THEM Presentation  ©  2012-­‐2013  Ray  Gallon  all  rights  reserved  
  13. 13. The Cognitive Spiral +! As   richness   of   content   i n c r e a s e s ,   o u r   knowledge   becomes   more  and  more  complex,   cognitively   speaking.   We   RICHNESS  OF  THE  CONTENT   return   regularly   to   the   same   place,   but   on   a   higher  cognitive  level   Bloom’s  Pyramid   -! COGNITIVE-­‐SYMBOLIC  COMPLEXITY   +! Presentation  ©  2012-­‐2013  Ray  Gallon  all  rights  reserved  Adapted from a scheme by Dr. Neus Lorenzo
  14. 14. From Meme to Neme •  Meme:  an  idea,  behavior  or  style  that  spreads  from   person  to  person  within  a  culture.  The  idea  was   conceived  by  evolutionary  biologist  Richard  Dawkins  as   “a  unit  of  cultural  transmission,  or  a  unit  of  imitation…  a   piece  of  thought  copied  from  person  to  person.”   •  Genes  are  replicators  in  physical  space,  Memes  in   cognitive  space   Presentation  ©  2012-­‐2013  Ray  Gallon  all  rights  reserved  Source:
  15. 15. Tim  O’Reilly’s  Meme  Map  of  Web  2.0   From Meme to Neme Development   Birth   Gestation   Presentation  ©  2012-­‐2013  Ray  Gallon  all  rights  reserved  Source:
  16. 16. From Meme to Neme •  Neme  is  an  acronym  for  the  fractal  learning  process  of  Complex  Adaptive   Systems:     •  Notice     •  Engage   •  Mull   •  Exchange     •  The  objectives  of  Nemetics  are  the  following:   •  Provide  a  Leadership  decision  framework  to  resolve  ‘wicked  paradoxes’  to  improve   performance.   •  Act  as  a  discovery  tool  to  make  sense  of  reality  viewing  it  in  terms  of  interactions     emergence  to  help  us  strategize.   •  Be  a  design  tool  to  improve  any  particular  situation  in  life.  It  might  be  personal,   organizational  or  technical.   •  Act  as  an  enabler  to  observe  one’s  own  thinking  process  enabling  possible  change  in   individual  and  collective  consciousness.   Presentation  ©  2012-­‐2013  Ray  Gallon  all  rights  reserved  Sources: Graingered Hubpages, Sparkling Insights Blog
  17. 17. Quick Nemetics Primer (somewhat oversimplified) ce   ical  spa hys  in  p ors ce   l icat  spa ce    rep itive  are ogn tive  spa nes in  c Ge es   dap•  pl ex  a em  in  com •  M mes •  Ne Emergence  =  any   order  that  emerges   out  of  chaos.  An   emergence  can  be   There negative.   ’s  mo re,  bu t…   Presentation  ©  2012-­‐2013  Ray  Gallon  all  rights  reserved   Source: Graingered Hubpages
  18. 18. Nemetics Applied to User Assistance Soft war e  is  a  livin g,  ev olvin g  en tity.     Presentation  ©  2012-­‐2013  Ray  Gallon  all  rights  reserved  
  19. 19. Nemetics Applied to User Assistance •  NOTICE  –  emergences   •  What  succeeded  the  last  time  you  did  something  like  this?   Why?   •  What  failed?  Why?   •  What  never  got  used?  Why?   •  What  don’t  you  know?   Presentation  ©  2012-­‐2013  Ray  Gallon  all  rights  reserved  
  20. 20. Nemetics Applied to User Assistance •  NOTICE  –  discovery  and  primary  analysis  phase   •  What  is  the  real  work  the  user  needs  to  do     (know  what)?   •  What  is  the  real  work  the  user  needs  to  do  NOW  (know  when)?   •  How  will  the  user  find  the  guidance  I’m  providing  (know  where)?   •  Which  design  will  best  serve  to  deliver  the  content  to  the  user   (know  how)?   •  What  must  you  give  the  user  so  that  s/he  can  solve  problems,   extrapolate  to  other  tasks,  get  out  of  difficulty  (Know  how,  know   how  to  be)?   Presentation  ©  2012-­‐2013  Ray  Gallon  all  rights  reserved  
  21. 21. Nemetics Applied to User Assistance •  ENGAGE  –  understand  the  users’  world  and  act  on  that   understanding  (Know  how  to  be,  know  how  to  be  with  others)   •  Go  out  and  do  user  research  –  and  meet  the  users  face  to  face   •  Create  user  stories   •  Understand  the  user’s  global  process  –  not  just  what  s/he  does   when  interacting  with  your  software:   •  How  often  is  s/he  interrupted?   •  What  does  s/he  do  when  interrupted?   •  How  long  are  these  interruptions?   •  What  are  the  other  regular  tasks  the  user  does  that  relate  to  use  of  this   software?   •  Test  your  ideas  with  real  users   •  Execute  following  your  conclusions   Presentation  ©  2012-­‐2013  Ray  Gallon  all  rights  reserved  
  22. 22. Nemetics Applied to User Assistance •  Mull  –  deep  analysis,  modeling  and  evaluation  phase   •  What  have  you  learned  from  your  research?   •  How  can  you  tie  what  you’ve  learned  to  your  discovery   process  (Notice  phase)?   •  How  can  you  apply  what  you’ve  learned  to  other  domains   in  this  software,  or  in  other  applications?   •  What  are  your  criteria  for  evaluation/success?   •  How  can  you  improve  on  what  you’ve  done?   Presentation  ©  2012-­‐2013  Ray  Gallon  all  rights  reserved  
  23. 23. Nemetics Applied to User Assistance •  Exchange  –  value  by  obtaining  user  feedback.  Encourage  users  to  add   value  by  exchanging  among  themselves  (know  how  to  be  with  others).   •  Retest:   •  What  do  users  actually  use?   •  What  do  they  not  use  at  all?   •  What  parts  of  the  software  give  them  the  most  problems?   •  Give  users  a  place  to  exchange  with  you  and  with  each  other:   •  What  do  they  say  to  each  other?   •  What  do  power  users  of  your  software  share  with  beginners  or  intermediate   users?   •  How  do  they  work  around  problems  they  encounter  –  is  it  useful  to   generalise,  or  does  it  lead  to  negative  entropy?   •  Document  what  you  learn,  and  enter  it  in  the  Notice  phase  of  the  next   iteration.   Presentation  ©  2012-­‐2013  Ray  Gallon  all  rights  reserved  
  24. 24. Blending Concepts and Tasks: Kanban Information meets DITA •  We  often  use  concepts  to  introduce    lead  into  multiple   tasks:   Task  1   Concept:   This   concept   explains   what   this   element   Task  2   of  the  interface  is  all  about.   It   is   used   in   the   following   Task  3   tasks:   Task  4   •  We  dont  know  how  else  to  do  it,  but  this  is  an   inappropriate  use  of  conceptual  information:   •  Not  good  cognitive  development   •  Not  good  Kanban   Presentation  ©  2012-­‐2013  Ray  Gallon  all  rights  reserved  
  25. 25. Blending Concepts and Tasks: Kanban Information meets DITA Why  not  use  the  DITA  Task  topic  structure  to  deliver  conceptual  information  where  it  will  do  the  most  good  and  be  best  remembered?   task  Topic   General  conceptual  information  using  the  context  element     Include  decision  support   (Reusable  for  related  tasks)   Step  1   cmd   stepresult  –  What  happens  after  execution  –  can  include  why   Step  2   cmd   info  -­‐  Use  when  there  is  no  result  to  embed  concepts  pertinent  to  the  step.   Make  sure  it  relates  to  the  task,  but  is  also  generalisable  to  other  similar  tasks,  if  appropriate   Presentation  ©  2012-­‐2013  Ray  Gallon  all  rights  reserved  
  26. 26. Example shortdesc  context   Presentation  ©  2012-­‐2013  Ray  Gallon  all  rights  reserved  
  27. 27. Use choice lists to include conceptual information cmd   choices   info   Presentation  ©  2012-­‐2013  Ray  Gallon  all  rights  reserved  
  28. 28. choicetable offers another option cmd   choicetable   Presentation  ©  2012-­‐2013  Ray  Gallon  all  rights  reserved  
  29. 29. stepresult used in step and nested substep substeps   stepresult   stepresult   All  these  elements  are  available  after  a  cmd.   Use  the  one  that  works  best,  semantically.   Presentation  ©  2012-­‐2013  Ray  Gallon  all  rights  reserved  
  30. 30. DITA Composite Topic – One Size Fits All The  composite  topic  begins,  simply,  with  a  dita  tag.  You  can  then  insert  any  type  of  DITA  topic,  nested  within  it.    Use  with  great  caution!   Presentation  ©  2012-­‐2013  Ray  Gallon  all  rights  reserved  
  31. 31. Going Beyond: Empowering the user Intens !  ify  kno interes wledg t   e  level !   Pu rsue  re s  for  p lated  i ersona !   Ex nform l   tend  p ation  a SO.. .! indepe rofess s  a  hob AL ional  c CAN ndentl ompet by   ION ,S/HE !   Lo ok  to  p y   ency   what  s ast  experie T ENS Y EXB /he  ma nces  to y  have  find  o  forgot ut   ten   Presentation  ©  2012-­‐2013  Ray  Gallon  all  rights  reserved  
  32. 32. Going Beyond: Empowering the user led ge   know n.   nd   atio ng  a anis hari  org on  s  the ati ide form  outs f  in nd re  o de  a A  cultu ,  insi buil ding This  changes  how  we  react  t o  our  environment,  and   has  social  and  ethical  implica tions   ive  and   nt   What  I   gnit elopme is  co  dev his   do  can   be  usefdo  has   an  effe ul  for  o thers,  a T unityUTube   post  ha ct  on  w s  good   hat  I  ca n  use  -­‐   nd  wha t  other s   co mm tags  or for  exa  not.   mple,  if  a   Presentation  ©  2012-­‐2013  Ray  Gallon  all  rights  reserved  
  33. 33. RAY  GALLON  CULTURECOM Thank  You!! Please  visit  my  blog,  Rant  of  a  Humanist  Nerd:   Email:     Google  Plus:  +Ray  Gallon   Twitter:  @RayGallon   LinkedIn:  Ray  Gallon   arch   d  on  reseoup.   r t  basesearch  g ion  Re enta ty  presion  Socie his at s  of  t m rtionTransfor Po he   by  t Presentation  ©  2012-­‐2013  Ray  Gallon  all  rights  reserved