International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics vol:39 issue:3 pages:501-508
ECCE 2007 edition:the 25th Anniversary Conference of the European Conference on Cognitive Ergonomics location:London date:28-31 August 2007
Previous research has shown that a “guided” interface where relevant task information is shown (externalization) can result in worse performance than an “unguided” interface where users have to think more for themselves (internalization). We studied transfer of task performance and whether switching from an “unguided” to a “guided” interface results in better performance than other way around. We also investigated whether the unguided interface enhances performance on a transfer task. In an experiment participants solved a series of problems with a “guided” or a “non-guided” (initial phase). In the transfer phase, they received the opposite interface. The unguided interface resulted in more efficient performance than the guided interface. We attribute this to the fact that the unguided interface provokes more active contemplation. Switching from an unguided to a guided interface had no effect on efficiency, while the other way around, it did. Performance on a transfer task with an unguided interface after working with the guided interface caused worse performance than other combinations. Deeper levels of thought instigated by the unguided interface caused better knowledge and better strategies. This can be important in situations where learning itself is the aim, or in when making errors generates a high cost.