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

Gaining more information through own execution

Apprenticing is a variant of field research in which an apprentice or trainee carries out the work of a user in order to gather more knowledge about the task. Companies use this technology, for example, to determine requirements for the development of software and systems. The idea of Apprenticing is based on the assumption that more knowledge is gained by carrying out the activities than with other variants of field research such as field observation or surveys. The trainee or apprentice can thus recognize details which are self-evident for users, employees or stakeholders and which would not be mentioned or explained in other variants.


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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