Do you teach the whole task or parts of the task? Do you purchase a simulator for your whole process or a part of it? Recent research helps to answer parts of these questions (Sohn, M., Douglass, M., Anderson, J.R., “Characteristics of Fluent Skills in a Complex, Dynamic Problem-Solving Task”, Human Factors, Vol. 47, No. 4, Winter 2006, pp 741-752).
Tasks were decomposed into their different components; in this case, an identification task was decomposed into search, initiation, classification, and save sub-tasks. The authors found that component-level (or sub-task level) fluency is critical to achieve overall fluency.
Also, practice showed differential improvements in performance, where practice on the cognitive components showed greater gains in overall fluency than did practice on the motor components. This research argues that the greatest performance gains come from part-task training of cognitive components.
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