Lee and Anderson (2001) published an article in which they argued that learning a complex skill can be understood in terms of learning various component skills. They did this by performing a hierarchical task analysis on the Kanfer-Ackerman Air Traffic Control Task. They then re-analysed a dataset where participants performed the task over repeated trials. By examining key logs, they were able to extract out the speed with which overall goals were achieved (e.g., landing planes) as well as subtasks (e.g., moving planes through the hold patterns, etc.). They then analysed the relationship between practice and performance (i.e., the learning curve) for both the overall task and the subtasks. Specifically, they fit three parameter power functions.
I'm currently doing some research exploring similarities and differences between overall and subtask learning curves, and I'm keen to identify other papers that have modelled subtask and overall task performance. However, the learning and performance literature is pretty broad and crosses multiple disciplines, and thus, somewhat challenging to search. I've also tried the cited by link for the article on Google Scholar.
- What, if any, other studies have been published that have modelled the relationship between both practice and subtask performance, and practice and overall task performance?
My preference is for studies where the dependent variable is task/subtask completion time, but any dependent variable representing performance would be interesting.
- Lee, F. J. and Anderson, J. R. (2001). Does learning a complex task have to be complex?: A study in learning decomposition. Cognitive Psychology, 42(3):267-316. FREE PDF