Experimental and Theoretical Psychology
A tool for the diagnosis of planning competenciesby Joachim Funke & Thomas Krüger (1993)
SummaryWith "Plan-a-Day" (PAD), we present a new diagnostic tool for assessing planning competencies. The instrument is based upon classical "daily errands" tasks, but is at the same time optimized with respect to several aspects:
The interface from PAD (i.e., what subjects see on the screen of their PC) can be seen here, together with a short excerpt from the instruction. As you might see, a high-resolution color screen is necessary for optimal presentation.
General instruction to the subjectsThis is what subjects read before they get confronted with the tasks:
Imagine that you were a plumber. Your task is to prepare your schedule for two fictitious days. You are to accomplish as many tasks as possible in a small town. These tasks take some time and may only be possible only at set times. In addition, the tasks differ with respect to their importancies. You must also pay attention to the time needed to cover the distance between two places. Altogether you have 40min time to make a schedule for each of two days. After 20 min for scheduling the first day the tasks for the scheduling of the second day are presented. If you finish the schedule for the first day ahead of time, you may begin work on the next schedule. In that case the time saved is added to the time allowed for the second day. A map of the town is presented on the screen. The time you need to go from your actual location to a particular place appears at that place. In order to arrive at a place, you have to key in the MARKED LETTER of that place. You have the possibility to use a car once each day. Using a car is three times faster than walking.
Example Task ListTo give you an impression about the task demands, here you see one of the very simple tasks used for training. Please note that the locations in the English version are slightly different compared to the German version. Here are the training tasks:
Practise the following three tasks now, please:
The complexity of these tasks can be easily changed by decreasing or increasing the amount of tasks or by introducing restrictions.
Current Applications in NeuropsychologyPAD was used and explored in some German rehabilitation centers (NTC Düsseldorf; Rehazentrum Godeshöhe, Bonn; Städtisches Krankenhaus Bogenhausen, München; Kliniken Schmieder, Bodensee; Neuropsychologische Tagesklinik des MPI für Neuropsychologie, Leipzig). The primary purpose of the PAD in this area is neuropsychological diagnosis and treatment of planning disorders with patients having frontal brain deficits.
Also, applications in the area of planning disturbances due to a diffuse deterioration of the brain functions (e.g., Korsakoff symptoms) could be possible.
Applications in Personnel Selection and TrainingPAD was designed originally for the analysis of planning competence in the management area. For example, the locations used in the PAD daily planning tasks stem from a more commercial context: You have go to the office or you have contact with a customer in the cafeteria, you have to go to the administration building or to the secretary.
The construction of PAD was based on daily errands tasks which are common in the context of an Assessment Center.
For research purposes in scientific contexts (not for commercial or private use), we can give you a copy of the DOS program version. Write a short email to one of the authors and explain in short the professional background of the planned work. Also, a written statement about the non-commercial use of PAD is necessary.
Funke, J. & Krüger, T. (1995). "Plan-A-Day": Konzeption eines modifizierbaren Instruments zur Führungskräfte-Auswahl sowie erste empirische Befunde ["Plan-A-Day": Conception of a modifyable instrument for the selection of managers and first results]. In J. Funke & A. Fritz (Eds.), Neue Konzepte und Instrumente zur Planungsdiagnostik (pp. 97-120). Bonn: Deutscher Psychologen Verlag.
Kohler, J. (1997). Das "Plan-A-Day"-Programm. In S. Gauggel & G. Kerkhoff (Hrsg.), Fallbuch der Klinischen Neuropsychologie. Praxis der Neurorehabilitation (S. 348-357). Göttingen: Hogrefe.
Kohler, J.A., Krüger, T. & Funke, J. (1996). Diagnostik und Therapie von Planungsstörungen mit Hilfe von "Plan-A-Day". Poster presented on the 11. Jahrestagung der GNP, Bad Wildungen, 3.-6.10. 1996
Kohler, J.A., Poser, U. & Schönle, W. (1995). Die Verwendung von "Plan-A-Day" für die neuropsychologische Diagnostik und Therapie [On the use of "Plan-A-Day" within neuropsychological diagnosis and therapy]. In J. Funke & A. Fritz (Eds.), Neue Konzepte und Instrumente zur Planungsdiagnostik (pp. 167-181). Bonn: Deutscher Psychologen Verlag.
Nellen, S. (2002). How humans solve scheduling problems: Analysis of human behavior in the Plan-A-Day task. Heidelberg: Unpublished Diploma Thesis (PDF-File available).
Nellen, S. & Funke, J. (2002). The role of exploration and forward checking in human scheduling.
Schenck, W. (2001). A connectionist approach to human planning. Heidelberg: Unpublished Diploma Thesis (PDF-File available).