Manufacturing Management (FD) and Information Processing
In this document, the use of the term information processing skills is taken to be the ability to process the information required to complete a specific task or problem. Sometimes the difficulty may be associated with performing tasks simultaneously e.g. listening to a speaker, making notes and formulating responses - for some students performing these processes simultaneously is problematic. Development of this skill may be affected by a number of factors such as if the student has dyslexia or dyscalculia and finds it difficult to extract the relevant information and organise it effectively. Another example could be if the student has ADHD and finds it difficult to focus on the relevant information without being distracted by external factors.
Specific difficulties with manufacturing management can include the following:
- Holding various aspects of a problem in mind and combining them to achieve a final solution can be difficult.
- Selection and application of appropriate theories and research methods.
- In multi-step problems, students frequently lose their way or omit sections.
- Poor arithmetical skills.
- Mathematical procedures and sequences of operations are difficult, eg when calculating the statistics for a study of manufacturing process times.
- Problems in sequencing complex instructions, and past/future events.
- Failing to equate the question wording with their knowledge of the subject.
- Difficulties reading the words that specify a problem, especially if the problem is embedded in large amounts of text.
- Slow reading, mis-reading or not understanding what has been read.
- Encourage students to work with their peers for problem-solving activities. This helps them to bounce their ideas and helps keep them focused on the task in hand without giving up.
- Students may need to focus more on the context of the problem in order to solve it, so they may need to be encouraged to seek out more background and supporting information, and highlight key words which help them to organise their thinking.
- It may help students if they are encouraged to colour code the stages of their problem solving. This helps them to focus on the various stages of the problem and will also help tutors to see at what stage of the problem the student is experiencing difficulties.
- Students may need to use a calculator to check seemingly simple arithmetic when they possess the ability to tackle very complex equations.
- Students may find the use of a computer helps them to focus on the task without becoming too distracted.
- Students may need to be encouraged to create a pocket book of facts and formulas that they can carry around with them to help them remember certain sequences.
- Large multi-step problems may need to be broken down into smaller, more manageable steps.
- Providing the student with flow diagrams or tree diagrams for clarifying procedures can help the student to make sense of a problem.
- Encouraging students to use mind maps to help with extended pieces of work can help them to organise their thoughts.
- Try to go through the work at the student's own pace. Overload can occur frequently as students may need to go over and over the problem numerous times, this can result in an inability to absorb anything.
Case study about a full-time BSc Quality Management student with dyslexia. He describes the difficulties he has experienced and how his department has helped him.