Benefits of Synchronous Collaboration Support for an Application-Centered Analysis Team Working on Complex Problems: A Case Study
Association for Computing Machinery
A month-long quasi-experiment was conducted using a distributed team responsible for modeling, simulation, and analysis. Six experiments of three different time durations (short, medium, and long) were performed. The primary goal was to discover if synchronous collaboration capability through a particular application improved the ability of the team to form a common mental model of the analysis problem(s) and solution(s). The results indicated that such collaboration capability did improve the formation of common mental models, both in terms of time and quality (i.e., depth of understanding), and that the improvement did not vary by time duration. In addition, common mental models were generally formed by interaction around a shared graphical image, the progress of collaboration was not linear but episodic, and tasks that required drawing and conversing at the same time were difficult to do.