Learning software-maintenance tasks in offshoring projects: a cognitive-load perspective

Oliver Krancher, Jens Dibbern

Research output: Conference Article in Proceeding or Book/Report chapterArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


Individual learning is central to the success of the transition phase in software maintenance offshoring projects. However, little is known on how learning activities, such as on-the-job training and formal presentations, are effectively combined during the transition phase. In this study, we present and test propositions derived from cognitive load theory. The results of a multiple-case study suggest that learning effectiveness was highest when learning tasks such as authentic maintenance requests were used. Consistent with cognitive load theory, learning tasks were most effective when they imposed moderate cognitive load. Our data indicate that cognitive load was influenced by the expertise of the onsite coordinator, by intrinsic task complexity, by the degree of specification of tasks, and by supportive information. Cultural and semantic distances may influence learning by inhibiting supportive information, specification, and the assignment of learning tasks.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 33rd International Conference of Information Systems
Publication date2012
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes


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