Facilitating Cognitive Group Display


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.


I. Cognitive Group Display Behavior
Task Groups Which Write and Draw Together

II. The Manipulable Group Display
Manipulable Displays and Cognitive Tasks
The Display as a Decision Support System
The Display as an Instrument for Measurement and Evaluation

III. Intervening to Assist Cognition
The Justification for Intervention
The Ethics of Intervention

IV. Models for Intervention
Integrating Agent
Behaviorial Group Counselor
Facilitator and Recorder
Concept Therapist

V. Facilitating Cognitive Group Display Behavior
General Strategy
The Long-Term Context (months to days)
Immediate Social Environment (hours to minutes to seconds)
Cognitve Display Techniques (hours to minutes to seconds)

Examples of Facilitation Behavior: Immediate Social Environment
Examples of Facilitation Behavior: Cognitive Display Techniques
Agenda for Weekly Workshop
Techniques for Measuring and Evaluating Group Cognitve Behavior


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