Drawn together : using visualization as a problem-solving strategy in project management
- Spatial inscriptions of information--visualizations--can be a great asset to problem solving. Calendars and Cartesian graphs are two examples of visualizations that reorganize non-spatial information (temporal and quantitative) into a visual format. People readily rely on these visualizations to plan and see patterns, which intuitively attests to their value. Pre-made visualizations, however, are not always available. As we document here, people can produce their own as needed, even for novel tasks, yet they often do not. This is a problem of transfer, where people have the requisite knowledge and skills but they do not spontaneously apply them when it would be appropriate to do so. We provide four hypotheses that might explain a lack of transfer. Three studies examine whether and when people spontaneously visualize and how to encourage the transfer of visualization to a novel problem. In the first study, we demonstrate that people infrequently visualize spontaneously on a project scheduling task that is similar to what one might find in a project management textbook. We show that performance on the project scheduling task without a visualization is poor. We also find that just seeing visualizations that reveal information not obvious in a table format will not support spontaneous transfer to a spatially-based problem or a temporally-based problem. In the second study, we teach participants explicitly to make a visualization for a spatially-based network problem. We see that people can make sense of a matrix in answering questions about a spatially based problem. We also find that seeing a visualization of that problem helps people to correctly use that visualization to answer questions. Therefore, the lack of visualizations in Study 1 was not due to participants not understanding the problem or not being able to interpret a visualization. Finally, we find that even though people can read and make visualizations for a spatially-based problem, this does not transfer to a temporally based problem. In the third study, we teach participants explicitly to make a visualization for a spatially-based network problem again. We also introduce a task between the spatially-based problem and the temporally-based problem that has both spatial and temporal surface features. The participants who received this "bridge" task spontaneously transferred visualization on the temporally-based project scheduling task.
|Type of resource
|electronic; electronic resource; remote
|1 online resource.
|Semmens, Robert P
|Stanford University, Graduate School of Education.
|Wieman, C. E. (Carl Edwin)
|Wieman, C. E. (Carl Edwin)
|Statement of responsibility
|Robert P. Semmens.
|Submitted to the Graduate School of Education.
|Thesis (Ph.D.)--Stanford University, 2017.
- © 2017 by Robert Paul Semmens
- This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 Unported license (CC BY-NC).
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