Mind the gap: Impact on learnability of user interface design of authoring tools for teachers


David Roldán-Álvarez, Estefanía Martín, Manuel García-Herranz, Pablo A. Haya

International Journal of Human-Computer Studies.  4 Jun 2016, pp. 18-34, doi:10.1016/j.ijhcs.2016.04.011 [download] (JCR, IF 2015: 1.476, Q2)

  • We study the learnability of educational authoring tools for preventing teachers’ rejection or abandonment.
  • We evaluate two interaction paradigms of authoring educational tools: menu-based versus direct-manipulation.
  • The interaction paradigm of the authoring tool has an important impact on the tool’s learning curve’s entry point.
  • A consistent interaction metaphor allows teachers creating educational activities smooth and fast.


Few teachers include information and communication technology in the classroom, despite their potential for increasing attention and motivation for students. Educational authoring tools are intended to turn teachers into designers and deliverers of technology-enhanced educational content, and increasing the adoption of these tools is a key element for speeding up this transformation. This paper emphasizes the importance of learnability for preventing rejection or abandonment by of such an authoring tool, and how acceptance is deeply affected by the interaction paradigm and the creation metaphor used in the tool. We present an analysis comparing two design paradigms: the widespread menu-based and choice-guided interaction paradigm versus a consistent metaphor with direct manipulation. The latter was implemented in DEDOS-Editor, a novel authoring tool that allows the creation of diverse educational activities that can be performed on different devices, such as PCs, digital blackboards, tablets, and multitouch surfaces. An experimental study shows the tremendous impact that interface choices have on the tool’s learning curve. The results provide the first mapping of the choice of a direct-manipulation interface and its effect on the learning curve’s entry point, as well as a consistent interaction metaphor with smoother and fast-growing learning curves. This allows users to complete more tasks and gain more knowledge through experience, in contrast to menu-based interfaces. The initial use of the tool is thus made easier for users with no experience or information about the tool, and the advantages of experience and expertise in facing new challenges are facilitating. This work also highlights the appropriateness of learning curves as a tool for measuring learnability.

Nuevo artículo sobre Análisis de Redes Sociales en libro de Comunicación Interna

Acaba de publicarse en Bubok el Libro Colaborativo del Foro CI organizado por AlcorConectar negocio y personas: experiencias y tendencias en CI” en el que tengo una artículo conjunto con Ana Jusdado titulado “Aplicación del Análisis de Redes Sociales (ARS) a procesos colaborativos innovadores“.

Podéis consultar los detalles en la web del Foro de CI (www.foroci.com). El libro se puede adquirir tanto en versión digital como en versión papel así como los videos y materiales de trabajo del mismo.

El próximo día 22 de octubre se presenta a las 9,00 en ESADE Madrid en el evento de DIRCOM.

Student activity and profile datasets from an online video-based collaborative learning experience

Esfefanía Martín, Manuel Gértrudix, Jaime Urquiza, Pablo A. Haya,

British Journal of Educational Technology. Article first published online: 20 JUL 2015 (2015) DOI: 10.1111/bjet.12318 [download] (JCR, IF 2014: 1.394, Q1)

This paper describes two datasets extracted from a video-based educational experience using a social and collaborative platform. The length of the trial was 3 months. It involved 111 students from two different courses. Twenty-nine came from Computer Engineering (CE) course and 82 from Media and Communication (M&C) course. They were organised into nine interdisciplinary groups. Each group included three or four CE students and eight or nine M&C students. An additional group filmed the making of. This group has only M&C students. Four teachers supervised the trial. The total number of meaningful events was 2984.

Anonymized version of the activity dataset and profile dataset are publicly available.

Fair Trade metaphor as a Control Privacy Method for Pervasive Environments: Concepts and Evaluation

Abraham Esquivel, Pablo A. Haya and Xavier Alamán. Sensor 15(6), 14207-14229 (2015) doi:10.3390/s150614207 [download] (JCR, IF 2014: 2.245, Q1)

This paper presents a proof of concept from which the metaphor of “fair trade” is validated as an alternative to manage the private information of users. Our privacy solution deals with user’s privacy as a tradable good for obtaining environmental services. Thus, users gain access to more valuable services as they share more personal information. This strategy, combined with optimistic access control and transaction registry mechanisms, enhances users’ confidence in the system while encouraging them to share their information, with the consequent benefit for the community. The study results are promising considering the user responses regarding the usefulness, ease of use, information classification and perception of control with the mechanisms proposed by the metaphor.

Analysing content and patterns of interaction for improving the learning design of networked learning environments

Pablo A. Haya, Oliver Daems, Nils Malzahn, Jorge Castellanos and Heinz Ulrich Hoppe

British Journal of Educational Technology. Article first published online: 3 MAR 2015 (2015) DOI: 10.1111/bjet.12264 [download] (JCR, IF 2014: 1.394, Q1)

Learning Analytics constitutes a key tool for supporting Learning Design and teacher-led inquiry into student learning. In this paper, we demonstrate how a Social Learning Analytics toolkit can combine social network analysis and content analysis for supporting a global and formal teacher inquiry. This toolkit not only supports teachers in improving the organisation of the learning process but also generates important input to improve the students’ reflection on their own learning. Our examples show how combinations of different levels of analysis can provide deep insight in the learning process. We report a case study that exemplifies the main features of our approach and the kind of outcomes that can be obtained. Commenting and rating processes on videos are analysed based on user traces from a social learning platform. Finally, we point out implications on the learning design for networked learning environments in general.

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