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Contributions Of Cognitive Engineering Methods To Engineering Education

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Engineering Education Research

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.320.1 - 8.320.15



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Paper Authors

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Alexander Quinn

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Amy Pritchett

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George Nickles

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 1630

Contributions of Cognitive Engineering Methods to Engineering Education

Alexander B. Quinn, George M. Nickles, and Amy R. Pritchett

School of Industrial and Systems Engineering Georgia Institute of Technology


Cognitive engineering is the inter-disciplinary study of the design and improvement of socio- technical systems through better training of personnel, through procedures and through the introduction of technologies to support human performance. This field builds upon insights into human performance provided by cognitive science and psychology, as well as knowledge of technology design from engineering and computer science. This paper will review important potential contributions of cognitive engineering to several ‘hot topics’ in the study of engineering education research methods.

These contributions are of several different types. First, cognitive science and engineering has its own established vernacular; for example, terms such as ‘mental model’ and ‘representation’ have specific meanings. Second, a variety of methods and methodologies for research have been developed, such as using system models to establish the meaning of data. Finally, ‘design guidance’ for forms of instruction and for educational technology can be found from cognitive science and engineering; for example, some aspects of education have been studied in domains outside academic instruction – e.g. computer-based instruction – and lessons learned from those domains can be shown here. Throughout this paper, fundamental references to the field are noted.

Summary of Cognitive Science Insights Into Learning

Cognitive science provides insights relevant to education into individual learning. The main focus of cognitive science is to understand the human mind, building on several diverse disciplines including psychology, neuroscience, linguistics, philosophy, anthropology, and artificial intelligence. Often going beyond purely psychological explanations of how the mind functions, cognitive science also centers on understanding cognition in real-world contexts. Thus, education serves as a meaningful domain in which cognitive science insights can be both researched and applied.

One major subject of study in cognitive science examines the nature of mental representations. A mental representation is defined as the internal representation of information used in a mental process (e.g., perception, language, thinking, reasoning, and other cognitive activities). The term Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Quinn, A., & Pritchett, A., & Nickles, G. (2003, June), Contributions Of Cognitive Engineering Methods To Engineering Education Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--12255

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