Cognitive Task Analysis (CTA) is a task analysis aimed at understanding tasks that require users to perform a large amount of cognitive activity, such as decision-making, problem-solving, memory, attention, and judgment. Cognitive Task Analysis (CTA) refers to a set of scientific methods designed to determine the cognitive skills, strategies, and knowledge required to perform tasks competently. (CTA) is a family of psychological research methods used to discover and represent what people know and think. CTA expands the capabilities of traditional task analysis to engage the mental processes underlying observed behaviours and uncover the cognitive skills and strategies needed to deal effectively with difficult situations.

Cognitive Task Analysis

Cognitive task analysis is an extension of traditional task analysis methods to provide information about the knowledge, thought processes, and goal structure of observed task performance. In addition to observable details about situations and behaviours, cognitive task interviewers also extract information about tacit knowledge, target structure, judgment, and decision-making processes for easily observable actions. These methods make it possible to identify and record the cognitive processes that underlie behaviour and judgment.

In addition to doing natural research, interviews and observations can be combined with experiment-like tasks (eg, 20 questions, card sorting) to provide useful information about the cognitive processes that underlie superior performance. CTA methods allow systematic exploration of these cognitive processes and can be used to understand individual and group cognitive abilities. CTA uses various strategies to gain explicit and implicit knowledge that experts use to complete complex tasks.

To communicate results (for example, from a series of CDM interviews), CTA uses a range of data analysis and knowledge representation techniques to improve system performance. The CTA can also inform other activities performed during the user-centred design (UCD) process, including structured interviews, formative tests, and final tests.

CTA can be used early in the design cycle when little is known about the system’s cognitive requirements on the user. In other words, CTA is a way to understand how an expert thinks by identifying the cognitive actions required to complete a task. The CTA aims to understand and define the breakdown of mental processes and requirements associated with performing these tasks.

When done correctly, the outcome of a CTA is a description of actual performance goals, conceptual and procedural knowledge for performance, performance standards, and tools used by experts in performing a task (Richard Clark, 2008). Task analysis is educating regular users by observing them in action to understand in detail how they perform their tasks and achieve their goals.

If experienced athletes have higher performance capabilities than others, the results of cognitive task analysis can be misleading (e.g., cognitive task analysis can be performed on high-performing professional athletes, but performing cognitive processes alone does not double the performance). Performance). If learning materials have to be designed and developed from scratch, it is important to perform a CTA when cognitive strategies that experienced practitioners use to solve domain problems (so-called Systems Problem Solving (SAP)) are required.

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