Work Action Analysis: A Cognitive Engineering Method to Examine Educational Systems

George M. Nickles, Amy R. Pritchett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cognitive engineering methods must be extended to allow for analysis of educational systems. Specifically, this article proposes work action analysis (WAA) as a method for modeling educational systems to support their design and evaluation. WAA is defined as a form of work analysis that describes a system as the overall system goals, the collective work environments for each of multiple roles in the system, the essential interrelationships between the agents' cognitive and physical activities and their environment, and the interactions between agents' roles. A general description of WAA is given along with specific steps to generate a WAA model. WAA is used to model an undergraduate engineering course and guide its evaluation via a variety of measures. Finally, insights into educational systems from the WAA modeling method are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)112-136
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Cognitive Engineering and Decision Making
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Applied Psychology
  • Computer Science Applications


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