A group of people working together on a problem-solving or decision-making task often make use of a visual display (e.g. a blackboard).
The contents of the display represent the cognitive behavior of the group in an explicit form. A text-graphic display serves as a rational external device (cf. Luria, l946). As equipment for use, the display can also be considered as an augmentation system for the intellect (cf Englebart, l962); ways of using it can be called methods of thinking.
What can a facilitator do to increase the effectiveness of a group working in such a medium? This question can be investigated if the facilitator operates within a liberal empirical framework of the type used by behaviorial counseling. Both facilitator and group can use the display as a source of feedback on the effectiveness of their immediate behavior.
A simple manipulable display system is described in the paper. Serving as both measuring instrument and powerful group medium, it is a frame of reference for characterizing the facilitation of groups doing cognitive display activity.
Portion of manipulable wall display generated by the
US Geological survey during a problem solving session.
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