Assessing User Experiences of eLearning Applications
What Is The Importance Of eLearning Usability?
Studies show that eLearning usability is a crucial success factor of eLearning quality and facilitates learners to achieve learning objectives and gain knowledge effectively and efficiently. On the contrary a non-usable eLearning application leads to a frustrating and unpleasant experience for learners who may spend more time trying to navigate and learn how to operate the eLearning software than actual learning.
From eLearning Usability to The User eLearning Experience
Besides the importance of eLearning usability, it is imperative to cater for a more holistic view when designing and evaluating modern eLearning applications. This holistic view includes aspects of User Experience (UX). During the recent years there is a growing shift of emphasis from task–oriented and functional requirements to non-functional, experiential and hedonic aspects of interaction. Such a tendency is also evident in the eLearning industry. UX research and practice puts a lot of emphasis on affective aspects of interaction as well. One of the main affective parameters in every eLearning scenario is motivation to learn. New thinking in learning theories and especially in adult learning research and practice stresses the need to enhance learners‘ internal priorities and drives that can be best described by motivation to learn. According to the above, motivation to learn is a crucial aspect when assessing UX of eLearning applications and eLearning systems. One of the existing and valid methods to measure motivation to learn and other important dimensions that influence user experience is to use questionnaires.
Beyond Plain Satisfaction Questionnaires
Questionnaires have long been used for usability and UX evaluation of several interactive systems. Their strongest advantage is that they provide feedback from the users’ point of view while at the same time they are quick and cost effective to administer and to score. There are several questionnaires (the so-called satisfaction questionnaires) that have been validated through research studies and industrial use. Nevertheless most of them are oriented towards other type of applications such as desktop applications, e-commerce applications etc. and there is a scarcity of questionnaires that are built solely for assessing eLearning experiences.
Motivation to Learn (Mo2L) is a questionnaire-based usability evaluation method that integrates usability metrics from web usability and instructional design literature. It further proposes motivation to learn as a new subjective measurement instead of plain satisfaction (one of the archetypical usability dimensions) as a more appropriate one when it comes to eLearning applications.
Mo2L is based on academic research which aimed at developing a usability evaluation method as a quality evaluation method for eLearning courses and eLearning applications. It is an easy to deploy and cost-effective method that:
- Measures the user experience of eLearning courses and applications based on users’ perceptions.
- Analyses qualitative comments and reactions to an eLearning application.
- Generates objective data, and
- Provides easy-to-read reports.
For more information about Mo2L method and its use, I highly encourage you to visit http://www.elearning-usability.com/