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2 The Role of Expert Knowledge for Maintenance Processes

There are many tasks in the production process that cannot solely be taught in classroom trainings as these tasks are very complex and require the ability of decision making. This kind of problem solving competence can only be gained within the working process and goes along with experiential knowledge. In the maintenance process you will find comparatively easy tasks that follow a defined checklist and dont require special know how. On the other hand there are very complex tasks, e.g. the failure analysis and the ability of reflecting and comparing the current situation with similar experiences in the work life. [7]

A main part of this experiential knowledge is the so called tacit knowledge. Technicians are often not aware of this special knowledge what becomes noticeable when they cant verbalize their knowledge. So, tacit knowledge is more than just the systematically received knowledge within vocational education, it is the result of the workers technical handling in their everyday work life. [8-9] [10]

For the design of VR based learning environments it is therefore relevant to take experiential knowledge into account and to offer technicians opportunities to make experiences in the virtual world.

The challenge of bringing experiences to VR is to investigate the tacit knowledge as it is related to persons and situations. Narrative methods have revealed the potential to receive valuable knowledge from experts by telling stories. One method that is applied by the authors is the so called triad interview [11].

It is characterized by a locally and timely defined dialogue about an agreed topic where three persons with very specific roles take part:

The narrator as the technical expert for the topic is responsible for the validity of the knowledge.

The listener as the novice technician who wants to learn from the expert is respon-

sible for the usefulness of the knowledge.

The technical layperson who is the methodical expert and moderator and who is responsible for the comprehensibility. [10]

So far triad interviews were documented in texts which are not optimal for its application within the organization due to the limited connectivity of novice technicians to written texts. Virtual Reality has the potential to keep the narrative structure of stories and is therefore very well suited to transfer experiential knowledge whereby allowing an easy access for novice users.

 
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