טכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל
הטכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל - בית הספר ללימודי מוסמכים  
M.Sc Thesis
M.Sc StudentSara Shachor
SubjectLearning and Forgetting in the Computer Industry
DepartmentDepartment of Industrial Engineering and Management
Supervisors Professor Emeritus Dar-El Ezekiel (Deceased)
Full Professor Shtub Avraham


Abstract

Learning is a well-known phenomenon for industrial tasks. The first learning model, the exponential model, was introduced in 1936, and is still applicable today. Researchers have studied learning with regard to motoric and cognitive tasks. It was found that people learn with each repetition with improvement of their respective performance. The learning models assume continuous performance, whereas ‘forgetting’ has virtually been ignored despite its frequent occurrence. Researchers of learning and forgetting distinguished between cognitive and motoric tasks. Forgetting was not found to be significant in motoric tasks, whereas in cognitive tasks it is. Yet the research regarding highly cognitive tasks is incomplete.

This research provides one of the first empiric researches on the topic of learning and forgetting in highly cognitive tasks with regard to a specific industry - the software industry. This thesis will:

  • Confirm that learning occurs in highly cognitive tasks such as during debugging in computer programming and that one of the known curves describes the learning process.
  • Confirm that forgetting occurs in highly cognitive tasks such as computer programming activities.
  • Find the factors affecting forgetting.
  • Compare with current research to find the model that best describes forgetting.
  • Examine the possibility of offering practical recommendations regarding the working policy.

The experiment results show that learning and forgetting occur in highly cognitive tasks associated with the software industry, and that no forgetting occurs in highly motoric tasks in the same industry. The length of breaks, the level of cognitivity of the task, and the interaction between the two were found to have a significant effect on the forgetting phenomenon .The conclusions are therefore that there is significance to the experience an employee has in a specific discipline, and that forgetting should be taken into account when deciding to interrupt a worker at his current project.