Analogical Reasoning

The development of decision-making skills relating to ill-defined problems where complex reasoning is required necessitates the development of analogical reasoning skills. One way to develop these types of skills is the case study techniques introduced in Chapter 4. Working on ill-defined case-based problems develops skills in case-based reasoning, which is a form of analogical reasoning whereby, when a novel problem is encountered, decision-making draws on previous problems that exhibit similarities to the current situation.19

The role of case-based reasoning in developing decision-making skills may have particular relevance to how so-called ‘black swan’ events are managed in high-risk industries. A black swan event is defined as a highly unpredictable event in which a situation occurs that was not considered possible in the design of the system.20

The development of these skills, which are more aligned with System 2 thinking, is perhaps the one exception to the general need for decision-making training to be situated in authentic learning environments such as the simulator or on-the-job training. The use of case study techniques has been demonstrated to achieve high levels of transfer of training,19 most likely due to the fact that the problems are novel in nature and require detailed reasoning to solve.

Team-Based Training

Due to the prevalence of team-based work in high-risk work environments, the development of skills in decision-making should also include skills in optimising team performance and avoiding the factors that can compromise team-based decision-making, explored earlier in this chapter.

Once a basic understanding of the opportunities and constraints of team-based decision-making has been established, training in real-world teams can then take place and focus on the key aspects of developing shared mental models and effective communication in supporting the decision-making process.

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