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The effect on appreciation by tailoring manuals to mental factors ; Will appreciation be enhanced when avance organizers, the level of chunking and document orientation are tailored to cognitive style, computer self-efficacy and need for cognition?

Woestenenk, Miriam (2011) The effect on appreciation by tailoring manuals to mental factors ; Will appreciation be enhanced when avance organizers, the level of chunking and document orientation are tailored to cognitive style, computer self-efficacy and need for cognition?

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Abstract:Users differ in their knowledge, personality and goals and therefore they have specific needs in the manuals. To satisfy the exact need for information, manuals can be tailored. It was expected in this study that users will appreciate a tailored manual based on the information needs more, than a non-tailored manual. The purpose of this study was to contribute to creating manuals which optimize task fulfillment with a minimum amount of workload and when possible to achieve a high degree of information elaboration, resulting in learning. It was expected that this can be achieved by tailoring the manual based on mental factors. The research question central in this thesis was: Do tailored manuals, based on mental factors enhance appreciation? In this study three mental factors and related tailored elements were tested. Some highlights are presented below. Tailoring Advance Organizers to Cognitive Style The first user characteristic focuses on how people process information, by considering cognitive style as developed by Allinson and Hayes. It was expected that matching different type of advance organizers with the cognitive style will influence workload positively and thereby appreciation. It was tested if users would appreciate a manual more when advance organizers were optimized for their situation (H2). More specific it was expected that intuitive users would appreciate a holistic advance organizer in the manual more than a hierarchical advance organizer (H2a) and analytical users would appreciate a hierarchical advance organizer in the manual more than a holistic advance organizer (H2b). The characteristics of the cognitive style and advance organizers are described in Table a. Table a: Characteristics of intuitivists and analytics and the related advance organizer Intuitivists Analytics  Intuitive  Random  Holistic  Synthesizing  Subjective  Looks at the whole  Logical  Sequential  Rational  Analytical  Objective  Looks at the parts ▼ ▼ Holistic advance organizer Hierarchical advance organizer  Start by presenting final result followed by required elements and related steps  Elaboration of steps in presented order  From End to Start  Start with first step followed by chronological steps  Elaboration of steps in presented order  From Start to End Little proof could be found for this relation: it appeared analytical users will appreciate a hierarchical advance organizer in the manual more than a holistic advance organizer. But overall, appreciation will not enhance when the advance organizer is optimized. Furthermore most users preferred the hierarchical advance organizer and that it was not possible to determine an optimal advance organizer based on the cognitive style. Therefore it can be concluded there is no relation between cognitive style and preferred advance organizer and almost everybody likes the hierarchical advance organizer. Tailoring the Level of Chunking to the Level of Self-Efficacy The second user characteristic focuses on the extent to which people think they are able to use the system, by describing their level of self-efficacy, developed by Bandura. It was expected by matching the level of switching with the amount of self-efficacy, successful task fulfillment and amount of workload will be influenced and thereby appreciation. It was tested if users would appreciate a manual more when the level of chunking was optimized for their situation (H3). More specific it was expected that users with low self-efficacy would appreciate content with a high level of chunking more than content with a low level of chunking (H3a) and users with high self-efficacy would appreciate content with a low level of chunking more than content with a high level of chunking (H3b). The characteristics of the self-efficacy and level of chunking are described in Table b. Table b: Characteristics of high and low self-efficacy and the related level of chunking High Self-Efficacy Low Self-Efficacy  High confidence  Focus on success  Low confidence  Focus on what can go wrong ▼ ▼ Low Level of Chunking High Level of Chunking  Less detailed steps  Less procedural screenshots  Detailed steps  Many procedural screenshots Summary Page ii Little proof could be found for this relation: users with low self-efficacy will appreciate content with a high level of chunking more than content with a low level of chunking. But overall, appreciation will not enhance when the level of chunking is optimized. However, the level of chunking to self-efficacy seems to influence the total appreciation. Furthermore it appeared it was not possible to determine an optimal level of chunking based on the level of self-efficacy, but this may be caused by a small number of respondents with a low self-efficacy. It was found that people with a low self-efficacy preferred a high level of chunking and the level of chunking does not matter to people with a high self-efficacy. Therefore it is recommended to use in a general manual a high level of chunking. Tailoring the Document Orientation to the Level of Need for Cognition The third user characteristic focuses on the eagerness of people to learn information, by describing their need for cognition, developed by Cacioppo and Petty. It was expected that by matching the document orientation with the amount of need for cognition, will influence the amount of learning and workload and thereby appreciation. It was tested if users would appreciate the manual more when the document orientation is optimized for their situation (H4). More specific it was expected that users with low need for cognition would appreciate a task oriented manual more than a concept oriented manual (H4a) and users with high need for cognition would appreciate a concept oriented manual more than a task oriented manual (H4b). The characteristics of the self-efficacy and level of chunking are described in Table c. Table c: Characteristics of high and low need for cognition and the related document orientation High Need for Cognition Low Need for Cognition  Seek, acquire, think about and reflect information and applies thinking skills easily  Enjoys thinking process  Open for new experiences  Wants to understand the system  Does not easily seek, acquire, think about and reflect information or apply thinking skills easily  Does not enjoy the thinking process  Conservative to new experiences  Wants to execute tasks ▼ ▼ Concept Orientation Task Orientation  Focus on knowledge  First conceptual information then procedural information  Focus on skills  First procedural information then conceptual information This relationship was statistically significant and therefore the hypothesis could be supported. But due to the asymmetric distribution in the sample, only proof could be found for users with high need for cognition will appreciate a concept oriented manual more than a task oriented manual. Furthermore it appeared that some people with a high need for cognition noticed the difference spontaneously and preferred the optimized version. It is expected that it will influence overall appreciation, but no statistical proof could be found. Subsequently, it was not possible to determine an optimal document orientation based on the need for cognition. This may be influenced by a small number of respondents with a low need for cognition. The Effect on Appreciation by Tailoring Manuals to Mental Factors Based on cognitive style, computer self-efficacy and need for cognition, respectively advance organizers, the level of chunking and the document orientation were optimized in the manual. It was expected that users would appreciate the manual more when the manual was optimized for their situation. No support could be found for this relation, meaning that based on the results of this study appreciation did not enhance when the three elements used in this study were optimized. Beside the total appreciation, it was also measured whether the three individual elements influenced appreciation. Despite the fact that not all hypotheses were support, it was found that users and their preferences do differ, though, not entirely in the expected way. Most people did not recall the tailored elements spontaneously, but when pointed on the elements, their preference differs. The used arguments were pretty strong for their preference and match the arguments found in theory. Therefore it can be concluded that tailoring manuals does effect the appreciation, although no statistically significant effect was found. In further research it is interesting to have an equal distribution in gender, system familiarity, self-efficacy and need for cognition. These distributions weren‟t equal in this study and based on the results there were reasons to assume that it influenced the results.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Clients:
Principal: Cordeo BV
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:05 communication studies
Programme:Communication Studies MSc (60713)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/60890
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