Grounding in Multi-modal Task-Oriented Collaboration

4 Preliminary results

At the time of this writing, we have had 7 pairs perform this task.[3] Pairs 1 and 2 communicated with voice as well as through MOO and whiteboard, and so we concentrate here on the other 5. These five pairs found the correct solution respectively in 2 h 45 (pair 3), 2h 27 (pair 4); 1h 53 (pair 5); 1 h 41 (pair 6) and 2 h 24 (pair 7).[4] Protocols also reveal a wide variety in how the pairs chose to interact. Pair 3 did not use at all the whiteboard (despite our repeated invitation to do it), while pairs 6 and 7 completely filled the available space. Some pairs (1,4,6,7) use the whiteboard as a space to paste 'post-it' notes, not fully exploiting the graphical features, especially spatial positions. Other pairs draw more elaborated schema: pair 2 draws a timetable; pairs 4 starts such a timetable but stops; pair 5 uses labelled arrows between objects to represent more complex concepts. Most pairs establish a code for marking the degree of suspicion for each character: they use colours, they cross out notes, or they put a label on those who are not suspect any more.

All pairs pass through three stages, reflecting the nature of the task: collecting information, organizing information (generally on the whiteboard) and making inferences. However, the pairs proceed differently through these stages:

We report two main observations: (1) the pairs seem to build different shared spaces, through different grounding mechanisms, and (2), grounding is often performed across different modalities.

[3] The protocols of MOO actions and communication and snapshots from the whiteboard movies are available by WWW (
[4] Pair 3 did not perform a training task and one subject was not previously familiar with the MOO.
4.1 - Grounding mechanisms are use to built shared sub-spaces
4.2 - Grounding across different modes of interaction

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