Norman’s Reaction Cycle

Created by a man named Donald Norman, Norman’s Reaction Cycle is a model that has been used for years to analyze the steps individuals take as they move from simply forming a goal to actually accomplishing it.

There are two main steps in Norman’s Reaction Cycle (also referred to as Norman’s Action Cycle). The first is execution and the second is evaluation.

During the execution phase the person in question will form a plan or goal and take specific actions aimed toward reaching that goal. This phase includes everything from the mental processes involved in planning to the physical actions and movements one makes to reach the goal.

The evaluation phase is then used to judge whether or not the person in question has achieved the outcome or goal he originally desired. This involves comparing what one actually sees to what one thought they would see as an end result.

There are a number of subsequent actions that make up both the execution and evaluation phases. Execution involves having intention, creating a sequence of actions, and then performing those actions. Evaluation involves the individual’s perception of the result, determining what that perception means, and evaluating whether or not those perceptions are accurate or if they have meaning.

Norman’s Reaction Cycle is often applied in technical situations. Often times the person performing a task will have the ability to check his actions against a manual or list of instructions. In these cases, they are able to determine whether or not the manual was useful in reaching the end goal as well.

The human mind is an incredible thing. The ability to evaluate the actions we take is incredibly important when it comes to finding business solutions that work. The more open we are to change and critique, even from ourselves, the more successful we will become!

Thanks again,

Sean McPheat

Managing Director

MTD Training   

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Updated on: 27 November, 2008

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