What are resilience strategies?

Brain Food

In our research we consider ‘resilience strategies’ to be the tips and tricks people use to avoid making errors and to improve their performance. There are everyday examples and more serious examples too:

Everyday examples

  • Some people might leave an umbrella by their front door so when they go to leave the house they remember it.
  • Some people might do a check before they leave the house: have I got my keys, my wallet and my phone?
  • Some people might set their phone alarm to remember a meeting at a particular time.
  • Some people check that have all the parts for their IKEA furniture before starting to try and assemble it.

More serious examples

  • A nuclear power plant operator used a paperclip as a bookmark to remember where they were in their instructions.
  • Medical professionals often double check that they have the right medicine before giving it to a patient.
  • Some people might set their phone alarm to remember to take their medication at a certain time.
  • Nurses often prepare medication on trays or trolleys which helps them to check what they have and haven’t got rather than it being spread out everywhere.

We are collecting examples of resilience strategies as part of the Errordiary project in the #rsdiary stream, please contribute.

Why contribute? The data that people like you have contributed to the #rsdiary stream has already contributed to internationally leading research on resilience strategies. In this early work, we have been able to recognise patterns in this data and establish abstract categories of resilience strategies. Importantly, this has given people a vocabulary to think about and talk about resilience strategies in a more tangible way. For example:

  • Cue creation strategies: This is where someone creates a cue to remember something like setting a mobile phone alarm to remember a meeting.
  • Pre-commitment checks: This is where someone checks the situation before they commit to an action like checking you’ve got your passport before you leave the house to go on holiday.
  • Disambiguation and separation strategies: This is where someone distinguishes things or separates them before they are mixed up like separating white board and permanent markers.

Read more about this work here: Furniss, D., Back, J. & Blandford, A. Cognitive Resilience: Can we use Twitter to make strategies more tangible? Proc. ECCE 2012.

If you found this interesting, maybe you’d like to take a look at some of the other stories and articles in our Learning Zone?