Representing and Teaching Knowledge for Troubleshooting/Debugging
Final technical rept. 1 Nov 1976-31 Oct 1977
STANFORD UNIV CA INST FOR MATHEMATICAL STUDIES IN THE SOCIAL SCIENCES
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Although the need for competent technicians who can maintain and repair complex systems is increasing present methods of teaching troubleshootingdebugging remain primitive and expensive, relying on students to discover effective and efficient problem-solving methods by observation and practice in relatively unstructured environments. The goal of the present project was to identify the types of knowledge necessary and useful for competent troubleshootingdebugging and to examine how new approaches to formal instruction might influence the attainment of competence by students. In particular, the research focused on the role of general strategies in troubleshootingdebugging and how they might be represented and taught explicitly and directly in order to avoid the cost and other drawbacks of learning indirectly by observation and practice. Analysis suggests that debugging is a fundamental aspect of almost all learning and problem solving. One result of the analysis was the formulation of an information-processing model of a general troubleshootingdebugging strategy, which describes the types of reasoning processes needed, some of the factors governing selection of alternative processes in solving a problem, and an explicit control strategy.
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