Accession Number:

ADA199117

Title:

Learning from Error

Descriptive Note:

Corporate Author:

AMERICAN SOCIETY FOR ENGINEERING EDUCATION WASHINGTON DC

Report Date:

1988-01-01

Pagination or Media Count:

15.0

Abstract:

Most studies of error focus on its reduction or elimination. Clearly, there are many steps that can be taken to avoid or prevent the occurrence of errors. Yet in human systems, error is inevitable. This is commonly argued on the grounds that people can become tired, or confused or distracted, or fail to attend to their work, or are in some other way inherently fallible. All of these are real factors in many errors, of course, but for systems of cooperative work in the real world, there may be a less disparaging and more fundamental reason for the inevitability of error. This is that such systems always rely on learning on the job, and where there is the need for learning, there is potential for error. A naturally situated system of cooperative work must both produce the intended result of its process and reproduce itself at the same time. Such cooperative systems may change over time, be reorganized, change the things they do, and change the technology they utilize to do the job. Even if tasks and tools could be somehow frozen, changes in personnel are certain over time. Most commonly, relatively expert personnel are gradually lost while relatively expert personnel are added. Even if the skills required to do the job can be taught in schools, the interactions that are characteristic of cooperative work can generally only be learned on the job.

Subject Categories:

  • Psychology
  • Human Factors Engineering and Man Machine Systems

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE