Cognitive Task Analysis


Cognitive Task Analysis (CTA) is a family of methods used to understand the cognitive challenges and skills in complex performance. The level of analysis can be a task, a job, or a domain of practice. While behavioral task analysis is the best choice for understanding performance governed largely by procedures, we use CTA to understand how experts actually perform in the field in a wide range of domains.
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With CTA, we capture their critical decisions and assessments; the cognitive challenges to performance; and how experts conceptualize situations using their knowledge, expertise, cues, factors, and strategies. CTA allows us to understand not just what tasks are performed, but how cognitive skills like judgment, decision-making, assessment, and sensemaking are performed. We are particularly interested in how people perform in complex, time-pressured, uncertain, high-stakes, dynamic environments.

CTA knowledge elicitation methods can be applied to individuals or teams through interviews and observations. Tactical thinking, knowledge management, assessment, instructional design, simulation design, decision support, and process and product design and improvement are some of the domains where we have successfully applied CTA to create decision-centered solutions.

For more information on the SKS Cognitive Task Analysis approach, contact us.