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Enabling distributed communication of manual skills

Stephen Fox (VTT, Technical Research Centre of Finland, Espoo, Finland)
Patrick Ehlen (Center for the Study of Language and Information, Stanford University, Palo Alto, California, USA)
Matthew Purver (Center for the Study of Language and Information, Stanford University, Palo Alto, California, USA)

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business

ISSN: 1753-8378

Article publication date: 25 January 2011

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to inform the development of mixed initiative systems for distributed digital communication of manual skills. In particular, manual skills that are essential in project production paradigms such as engineer‐to‐order.

Design/methodology/approach

Findings from survey research, which included literature review and interviews with practitioners, are reported. Literature review investigated media, strategies, and computation relevant to distributed digital communication of manual skills. Interviews investigated attitudes among industry practitioners towards distributed digital communication of manual skills.

Findings

Communication media, instructional strategies, and computational semantics techniques are available which can be integrated to address the limitations of human communication of manual skills.

Research limitations/implications

Only ten organizations were involved in interviews investigating attitudes towards distributed digital communication of manual skills.

Practical implications

Manual skills will continue to be important to project businesses involved in the production, refurbishment, and/or maintenance of large engineer‐to‐order products such as public buildings and process plants. The limitations of human communication can be addressed by using a variety media, such as augmented reality headsets, to enable new instructional strategies, such as just‐in‐time training. Further, combinations of media and strategies can be integrated with computational semantics in the development of mixed initiative systems which provide feedback as well as initial instruction.

Originality/value

The originality of the research reported in this paper is that it addresses a full range of enablers for distributed communication of manual skills. Further, an overview of computational semantics is presented which does not rely on prior specialist knowledge. The value of this paper is that it introduces a framework for enabling distributed communication of manual skills. In addition, a preliminary ontology for distributed communication of manual skills is introduced, together with recommendations for implementation.

Keywords

Citation

Fox, S., Ehlen, P. and Purver, M. (2011), "Enabling distributed communication of manual skills", International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, Vol. 4 No. 1, pp. 49-63. https://doi.org/10.1108/17538371111096881

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited