GVU Center Brown Bag Seminar: Richard Catrambone "The Life of a Professional Novice: Task Analysis and Instructional Design"

Event Details
  • Date/Time:
    • Thursday January 25, 2018 - Friday January 26, 2018
      11:30 am - 12:59 pm
  • Location: Technology Square Research Building, Atlanta, GA
  • Phone:
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  • Fee(s):
  • Extras:
    Free food



Summary Sentence: This seminar will discuss the TAPS (Task Analysis by Problem Solving) process.

Full Summary: In this seminar we will discuss the TAPS (Task Analysis by Problem Solving) process and several instructional design and problem solving studies that have utilized TAPS.

  • Richard Catrambone compressed Richard Catrambone compressed


Subject matter experts (SMEs) who teach courses, write textbooks, and contribute to computer-based learning environments, are often “disconnected” from the knowledge they use to solve problems. Much of that knowledge has become essentially automated and therefore the SME can have difficulty articulating it or even realizing that it needs to be articulated. Research on instructional design, educational technology, and problem solving tends to emphasize instructional manipulations at the expense of a careful consideration of what learners need to know. I have developed a task analysis technique called TAPS (Task Analysis by Problem Solving) to elicit the knowledge that SMEs have, and that learners need, to solve problems in a domain. I will discuss the TAPS process and several instructional design and problem solving studies that have utilized TAPS in conjunction with my subgoal-learning model to show how instructional materials can be improved so that learners can learn more effectively and transfer their knowledge to new problems. These projects have been in domains ranging from physics to ballet and have involved instructional materials presented via paper and pencil as well as in multimedia environments.


Richard Catrambone is a Professor in the School of Psychology at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He received his B.A. from Grinnell College and his Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology from the University of Michigan.
The question Catrambone likes to ask--and the thread that runs through the projects he does alone and in collaboration with others--is: What does someone need to know in order to solve novel problems or carry out tasks within a particular domain?
Catrambone’s research interests include problem solving, educational technology, and human-computer interaction. He is particularly interested in how people learn from examples in order to solve problems in domains such as algebra, probability, and physics. He explores how to create instructional materials that help learners understand how to approach problems in a meaningful way rather than simply memorizing a set of steps that cannot easily be transferred to novel problems. He researches the design of teaching and training materials--including software and multimedia environments--based on cognitive principles that help students learn basic tasks quickly and promote transfer to novel problems. He uses task analysis to identify what someone needs to know in order to solve problems or carry out tasks in a domain and then to use the results of the task analysis to guide the construction of teaching and training materials/environments.

Additional Information

In Campus Calendar

GVU Center, IPaT, School of Interactive Computing

Invited Audience
Faculty/Staff, Public, Graduate students, Undergraduate students
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  • Created By: Dorie Taylor
  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created On: Jan 22, 2018 - 2:08pm
  • Last Updated: Jan 23, 2018 - 10:01am