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

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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 2016: 2.863, Q1 5/22 Computer science, cybernetics)

Highlights
  • 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.

Abstract

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.

User Modeling and Adaptation for Daily Routines is now published

User Modeling and Adaptation for Daily Routines
Providing Assistance to People with Special Needs

Editors: Estefanía Martín, Pablo A. Haya, Rosa M. Carro
ISBN: 978-1-4471-4777-0 (Print) 978-1-4471-4778-7 (Online)

User Modeling and Adaptation for Daily Routines

User Modeling and Adaptation for Daily Routines is motivated by the need to bring attention to how people with special needs can benefit from adaptive methods and techniques in their everyday lives. Assistive technologies, adaptive systems and context-aware applications are three well-established research fields. There is, in fact, a vast amount of literature that covers HCI-related issues in each area separately. However, the contributions in the intersection of these areas have been less visible, despite the fact that such synergies may have a great impact on improving daily living.

Presenting a comprehensive review of state-of-the-art practices on user modeling and adaptation for people with special needs, as well as some reflections on the challenges that need to be addressed in this direction, topics covered within this volume include the analysis, design, implementation and evaluation of adaptive systems to assist users with special needs to take decisions and fulfil daily routine activities. Particular emphasis is paid to major trends in user modeling, ubiquitous adaptive support, diagnostic and accessibility, recommender systems, social interaction, designing and building adaptive assistants for daily routines, field studies and automated evaluation.

Nine leading contributors write on key current research in the domain of adaptive applications for people with special needs, integrating and summarizing findings from the best known international research groups in these areas. User Modeling and Adaptation for Daily Routines highlights how adaptation technologies can ease daily living for all, and support sustainable high-quality healthcare, demographic ageing and social/economic inclusion.

Book CFC: “User Modeling and Adaptation for Daily Routines” (Springer HCI Series)

We are please to announce and invite you to submit a chapter to the book on: “User Modeling and Adaptation for Daily Routines” that will be appear in Springer HCI Series.

First deadline: October 10, 2011: Proposal submission (abstract 1-2 pages + at least 3 own references).

The rest of important dates and information can be found at http://hada.ii.uam.es/umadrbook/

Towards a Ubiquitous End-User Programming System for Smart Spaces

Manuel García-Herranz, Pablo Haya, Xavier Alamán

Journal of Universal Computer Science 2010 [download] (JCR 2010, 0.578, Q4)

This article presents a rule-based agent mechanism as the kernel of a ubiquitous end-user, UI–independent programming system. The underlying goal of our work is to allow end–users to control and program their environments in a uniform, application-independent way. The heterogeneity of environments, users and programming skills, as well as the coexistence of different users and domains of automation in the same environment are some of the main challenges analyzed. For doing so, we present our system and describe some of the real–environments, user studies and experiences we have had in the development process.