4.1 Grounding mechanisms are use to built shared sub-spaces

4.1.7 Summary: Multiple shared spaces

In summary, the definition of collaboration as building and maintaining a shared conception does not indicate what this shared space is. Our first observation from the protocols shows that partners actually maintain several sub-spaces in parallel. These sub-spaces are related to each other by the fact that information shared in one space can be necessary to share information in another: e.g. it is necessary to ground representation codes to ground facts inferences displayed non-verbally on the whiteboard. Nevertheless, we refer to them as different sub-spaces because the grounding mechanisms differ from one sub-space to another, due to differences in the nature of the information being grounded, the necessity of grounding and the means available for grounding.
Shared sub-spaces in the mystery task
Information Sub-spaceObserved grounding processes
1. Basic facts about the taskMost factual information is shared by making it accessible on the whiteboard. More important information is shared or diagnosed via more intrusive ways: dialogue or invitation to action. Since the information is rather trivial to understand, monitoring seems to rely on the default assumption that what is not explicitly brought into discussion is understood and agreed.
2. Inferences about the taskThis is the central space, the one which is directly connected to the goal of learners: to find the murderer. The inferences are generally negotiated explicitly, through verbal discussion.
3. Problem solving strategyOnly "long impact" strategic decisions seem to be negotiated explicitly, and even then, without fixing operational details. Actually, the MOO environment and the whiteboard provide detectives with the information necessary to coordinate rather efficiently their work even when their strategy is not fully grounded.
4. MOO positions Past positions are grounded implicitly through information displayed on the whiteboard, current positions through MOO action, and future positions through MOO discussion.
5. Knowledge representation codesThe necessity of grounding seems to depend on the elaboration of the code: a "no gun" label will not be grounded, while a code "Red = no gun" should be.
6. Interaction rulesThese do not seem to be negotiated, because the semi-persistence of sentences in the MOO (you can always re-read a previous utterance), makes conversation very resistant to non-regular turn taking.

Grounding in Multi-modal Task-Oriented Collaboration - 3 SEP 1996
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