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Huda Khan

Questions in Relationship to User Modeling, Learning on Demand, and HFAs

source: Fischer, G. (2001) "User Modeling in Human-Computer Interaction," User Modeling and User-

Adapted Interaction (UMUAI), Kluwer Academic Publishers, 11(2), pp. 65-86.

1. choose MS-Word (or another HFA) as an example:

1.1. how much (in percent) of the functionality of the HFA do you know?

Probably not less than 30% and not more than 60%. There is a lot of functionality with which I am not acquainted since there are many tasks which can be accommodated by MS Word that I have not as yet needed to accomplish.

1.2. how do you learn new functionality?

Generally, by looking at the help section, searching for keywords in the index, and trying to find any relevant articles on what I need to accomplish. I have used the web and tried to search for user groups or articles online if I need to learn new functionality, but I have never had to search for MS Word related functionality. I've used the web as a resource to learn MS Excel or MS Access-related functionality.

1.3. for MS-Word users: is there a command in MS-Word which "transposes two characters" (e.g., "leanr" becomes "learn" by positioning the cursor between n and r and executing the command)?

I don't know whether there is a single command that can transpose two characters but there is a series of steps or commands that can be executed in order to transpose two characters.

Using your mouse, you can select the first letter ("n") and drag and drop it to the right of the second letter "r". Alternatively, you can place the cursor in between the letters "n" and "r", simultaneously press down SHIFT and the left arrow key to select the letter "n", press F2, use the right arrow key to place the cursor to the right of the letter "r", and press ENTER.

2. what have YOU learnt "on demand" in YOUR life? Briefly describe the most prominent examples.

How to do taxes, learn about sole proprietorships, trade name registration, etc. Any organizational skills (I need more of these :)). How to prepare for and take tests. Where to go find services related to car-repair/registration, etc. Furthermore, I've learned ASP, JAVA, C++, Python on demand (as part of work-related or course-related activities).

3. what do people have to know to be able to learn on demand?

They have to have a basic understanding of what needs to be achieved, or at least where to start the process of learning what needs to be achieved, i.e. where to find information relevant to their question, the scope of their question or problem, and how to incorporate that information into their current knowledge as well as how to know whether they need more information or they need to redefine the scope of their question or problem.

4. why should one "learn on demand" instead of relying on "use on demand"?

There are many situations where the nature of the problem itself is not definable, where the process of learning about the solution or resolution requires simultaneously learning about the problem. Not everything which needs to be done can be articulated beforehand, and most real world situations and problems are open-ended, dynamic, and are not finite sets of predefined components.

5. which computer systems have you encountered which

5.1. have a User Modeling Component?

Certain web search services look at the terms you are searching on and then try to create lists of similar searches or related keywords. MS Word tries to learn the kinds of formats you use and change the stored set of templates on that basis. Internet Explorer can store recent web urls that you have typed in the address bar and will later attempt to bring up a list of urls which resembles the partial url as you type that url in the address bar.

5.2. supported learning on demand?

The only system I can currently think of that prompts you with information that may be relevant to the task at hand is Microsoft Word, as the help assistant will sometimes ask whether you are trying to complete any of a given set of tasks that could be related to what you are currently trying to accomplish (e.g. if you start writing what begins to look like a letter, the help assistant will come up with a list of information related to letter-writing tasks and commands).

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