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APOSDLE Glossary: The concept of the 3spaces

The concept of 3spaces serves as an abstraction of the different environments a knowledge worker typically interacts with: learning space, knowledge space, and work space. The 3spaces are one component of the knowledge workerís work environment, namely the one concerned with the search and use of information and acquisition and use of knowledge. Although the 3spaces could be understood to encompass the non-computational elements of the work environment, the focus of APOSDLE is to enhance the computational work environment.

The 3spaces reflect the structure of the knowledge sources that knowledge workers interact with when working and learning. However, we suggest that the spaces also mirror the mental models of the people using them and shape the decisions about information and knowledge sources they seek. Accordingly these sources are structured in a specific way and accessed accordingly.

The motivation of APOSDLE arises from a disconnection between the three spaces, a cognitive/structural as well as technical disconnection, which can usually be observed in organizations. One goal of APOSDLE is to transcend this disconnection and allow the knowledge worker to interact with the 3spaces as a unity.

The following sections give details on the three different spaces, and the way they are currently structured.

Learning Space: The learning space stands for conscious learning situations, e.g. attending seminars and taking courses. In the learning space, activities are usually structured according to very clear and explicit learning goals and their dependencies. Also the learning space usually addresses different levels of expertise: different learning situations are planned for beginners than are for intermediates or experts. The learning space is either completely outside any technical system or represented by an e-learning platform. The structure of the learning space mirrors the structure of the learning topics as it is seen by course providers. It follows the didactical abstraction of the topic, and very often, it does not provide information about the relationship of work tasks to courses. In addition, the available course material is fairly general and has to be adapted to the workerís work context.

Example: RESCUE tutorial documents and face-to-face seminars

Knowledge space: The knowledge space encompasses the expertise that has been developed by the organisation. It represents unconscious learning, application of past experiences (own and from others) to new situations, spontaneous search for information, and use of examples in order to better understand how to apply knowledge. Also groups of experts or communities of practice often operate in the knowledge space to exchange relevant knowledge and learn from each other. In technical terms, the knowledge space corresponds to the organisational memory. It is often distributed over different systems such as the Intranet, the Internet, a common file server, etc. The structure again is different: organisational knowledge often does not have one clear structure, but mirrors the internal cognitive map of each person providing the knowledge. Often a mix of the topics or a domain structure and the organisational department structures is found here.

Example: RESCUE experts available over chat connections, lessons learned documents describing how RESCUE was employed in other projects, example RESCUE documents from other projects

Work space: Work Spaces are used in the process of work. Accordingly, they are structured in terms of the work processes, i.e. in terms of the tasks and their dependencies. The work space represents the userís desktop PC and shared document storage devices such as a common file structure or a document management system. It contains the work documents which are needed by a knowledge worker on a day-to-day basis, such as project related documents. The work space is typically structured according to a companyís organization and task structures (e.g. project structures).

Example: a chat discussion between the requirements engineer and a potential user about the activity model

This definition is taken from the APOSDLE Project Glossary. At time of publication the latest version appeared in Deliverable D6.02 Use Scenarios & Application Requirements (First prototype; domain RE) available from APOSDLE Results. In this document, all mentioned external and cross references can be found.