Concept Mapping in Virtual Collaboration Environments

Brian M. Moon, Jeffrey T. Hansberger, Austin Tate

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract / Description of output

Crisis response situations require collaboration across many different organizations with different backgrounds, training, procedures, and goals. Indeed, the overwhelming nature of such events calls for a diversified response that addresses the multitude of cascading effects. Compounding the challenges associated with collaboration during crisis situations is the distributed nature of the supporting organizations—in most cases, a single leader or office is not designated to integrate and advance participants from military, government and non-government organizations—thus, disparate organizations often plan and execute disparate plans. As a result, opportunities for leveraging expertise and resources across organizations are lost, and response to the crisis can appear as chaotic as the crisis itself. Seeking more effective and efficient means to facilitate crisis response, the US Army Research Laboratory’s Human Research and Engineering Directorate (ARL HRED), under the direction of one of the authors (Hansberger), in 2009 launched a program to design and evaluate a virtual collaboration environment (VCE) to support a crisis response community of interest during crisis action planning activities. The ultimate goal of the program was to demonstrate the potential value in a VCE for addressing the challenges of distributed crisis response planning. More broadly, the program sought to discover implications for any distributed collaborative activity.
Among the design concepts proposed was the use of Novakian Concept Mapping in the context of the VCE. Specifically, Cmapping was proposed as an approach to enable the planning process, and CmapTools was proposed as the software toolkit for integration into the VCE. This chapter provides an overview of the role of Cmapping and CmapTools in the program, with an eye toward highlighting the benefits and challenges discovered during the program. In so doing,
we seek to suggest the boundary conditions for successful use in virtual collaboration environments, and more importantly, to suggest a roadmap for pushing the boundaries in the future. As such environments continue to grow, we are confident that the benefits of Novakian Concept Mapping can extend into the virtual world—as fruitfully as they have in the corporeal world.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationApplied Concept Mapping: Capturing, Analyzing, and Organizing Knowledge
EditorsMoon. B., R.R. Hoffman, J. Novak, A. Canas
PublisherCRC Press
Number of pages24
ISBN (Print)978-1-4398-2860-1
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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