Education for Cognitive Agility: Improved Understanding and Governance of Cyberpower
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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OriginalversjonProceedings of the ... European conference on information warfare and security. 2018, 2018-June 541-550.
Introducing novel techniques designed to scaffold learning and measure performance in military learners being trained to defend computer networks requires alternative education models. This paper presents how methods of Slow Education and Accelerated Learning could lead to greater Cognitive Agility in cyber defence operations. This study builds on earlier empirical and theoretical human factors research in cyber defence, specifically the Hybrid Space framework, Cognitive Agility, and the Orientate-Locate-Bridge model (OLB) model for socio-technical communication. The Hybrid Space framework visualizes the intersection between cyber-physical and strategic-tactical dimensions, allowing for the application of psychological concepts in assessment, training and action. Cognitive agility demonstrates an individual's metacognitive ability, measured as movements in the Hybrid Space, to understand, monitor and regulate the use of flexible cognitive strategies that help performance. The OLB model dissects the steps of improved grounded communication based on shared mental models in complex hybrid environments. These earlier studies provide a common framework for cognitive processes that can contribute to improved understanding and modes of governance in the cyber domain. This article suggests how Slow Education inspired approaches to educating cyber cadets can support improved sensemaking and understanding. Slow techniques were applied to a group of 37 students during a three-year bachelor degree education at the Norwegian Defence Cyber Academy. The education culminates in a two-week cyber defence exercise where the quantitative data for this study was gathered. The praxis of combining and applying novel pedagogic and psychological techniques aimed at accelerating learning and more specifically examples of cognitive agility among cyber defence teams. As policies and doctrines for cyberspace are drafted, challenged and negotiated, the requirement for educating personnel charged with the practice of governing cyberpower effects demands close attention. Governance of cyberpower can be understood as legitimate efforts to make events by, with and through cyberspace, happen in a productive direction. When cyberpower is redefining individual and state capabilities to influence events, and traditional education models are being challenged by the digital age, then developing and making metrics available that are suitable to evaluate human performance in the cyber domain is necessary. This study will further the discussion relating to cognitive agility and adaptations to cyber education capable for improving cyberpower understanding and governance.