Date of Award:

1997

Document Type:

Dissertation

Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department:

Education

Advisor/Chair:

Dr. Byron R. Burnham

Abstract

A qualitative study of a workplace was conducted through the use of interviews and observation of ten participants working in hardware and software engineering. The study arose from a lack of information on computer usage in workplace settings and a lack of identified functional needs for skills-based training.


There were three primary guiding questions and areas of findings in this study:
l.Does the job task model define the areas of computer literacy for the individual worker?


The job task model proved to be an effective method for analyzing tasks, tools, and the environment for usage of computer technologies in specialized professions.
2.Does the type of job task influence the functional needs for computer usage in the areas of training, hardware and software usage, application of individual anthropometric data, and workstation design?

The job tasks did not influence how the participants were trained in the use of computers. The primary method of learning to use computer hardware and software was through self-instruction. However, the type of job task did influence the type of hardware and software needed to perform a task. Professional employees needed to know how to use both general and specific types of hardware and software. The job task affected the ergonomic arrangement of work areas, but the participants generally lacked training in how to identify and correct risk factors that may lead to computer-related injury.
3.What are the stress factors in this workplace setting? Do the stress factors influence computer-related injury rates in this workplace and if so, how can those types of injuries be reduced?

The stress factors identified in this setting included job demand factors, psychosocial factors, and ergonomic factors. Although these types of stress factors have been associated with computer-related injury through research, none of the participants reported injury associated with computer usage. It was also found that the participants did not consider musculoskeletal disorders to be injuries but rather illnesses.

Implications of the study suggest that the job task model provides a balanced approach to the design of instructional materials. Further, by allowing one category of the job task model to be dominant in the instructional content also appears to weaken the overall instructional validity.

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