Applied Cognitive Task Analysis – using a mid-fidelity simulation


Anders Brödje, Johannes Prison, Johan Jenvald, Joakim Dahlman


Applied Cognitive Task Analysis (ACTA), is a method typically used to elicit cognitive aspects of expert performance while studying cognitive elements connected with a certain task. Within the maritime domain, the method of ACTA has been used in two parallel studies; one studying Vessel Traffic Service Operators, monitoring maritime traffic movements within a set geographic area, the other studying navigating officers' implicit skill of ship-handling (the manoeuvring of the vessel). In both studies ACTA was used to elicit what type of information the Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) use as well as when, why and how they use the information. To better do this, the Simulation Interview in ACTA was developed to be based on a mid-fidelity simulation presented to the SME, during which the SME was asked to interact with an evolving scenario. By being able to follow the SMEs way of reasoning, the effect of this developed technique was the possibility to collect more extensive data, resulting in a more profound understanding of the SMEs use of information. This article discusses the possibilities and drawbacks with using a technique based on a mid-fidelity simulation and also suggest changes in order to develop the technique further.