Apprenticing

What is Apprenticing and what kind of recommendations can be made?

Smartpedia: Apprenticing is when an apprentice performs the activity of a user in order to gain more knowledge about it.

Apprenticing – gaining more information through own execution

Apprenticing is a variant of field research that collects empirical data through observation and questioning in a person’s work environment. In this variant, an apprentice or a trainee goes to a user for an agreed period of time and carries out his or her activity in order to gather more knowledge about it.

The idea of apprenticing is that more knowledge is gained by carrying out the activities than in other variants of field research such as field observation or interviewing. The trainee or apprentice can thus recognise details that users, employees or stakeholders take for granted and that they would not mention or explain in other variants.

Companies use this technique, for example, in the course of requirements elicitation for the development of software and systems.

Apprenticing

Recommendations for Apprenticing

It is recommended to choose your teacher carefully. Not every user is a good teacher. The following three aspects of Apprenticing have proven themselves in practice:

  • Preliminary discussion between “teacher” and “apprentice” including discussion of the procedure, the duration and frequency of the apprenticeship, as well as the goals.
  • Either demonstration of the activity to be researched by the teacher or direct introduction of the apprentice without demonstration.
  • Coaching by the teacher during the activity, whereby the coaching is usually reduced with increasing duration.

Just like the Contextual Inquiry, Apprenticing goes back to Karen Holtzblatt and Hugh Beyer.

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Notes:

Here you will find additional information from our Smartpedia section:

Smartpedia: How does field observation work?

How does field observation work?

Smartpedia: Why are stakeholders important?

Why are stakeholders important?