Model For Developing Interactive Learning Computer Science Essay

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Chapter 2 and 3 introduced concepts, theories and models related to E-learning. Norris, Beck, and others (2003) mentioned that the Learning Objects are the main component which reflects the quality of the electronic content and control over the success of education based on computer. In chapter 3 (Joseph Fong, 2003) stated that Human Computer Interactive (HCI) has a variety of components that increase the effectiveness of E-learning system, but the most important component is the usability that shall increase the effectiveness of program's quality. Before designing the new Model, we have to define the courseware and explain the courseware life cycle to approve the importance of the Learning Objects. A Courseware is "educational material intended as kits for teachers or trainers or as tutorials for students, usually packaged for use with a computer". (Karmouch, 1999).

Designing a courseware goes through several stages as mentioned by (H. AL-sharrah, 2006). The stages mentioned below represent the courseware life cycle:

Stage 1: In this stage the courseware is divided into small chunks educational material LO's, this operation will be done by the subject matter experts in collaboration with the instructional designer.

Stage 2: After getting approval from the subject matter experts, the instructional designer will create the storyboards for each Learning Objects.

Stage 3: The storyboards will be send to the production unit -multiple production lines exist.

Stage 4: LO's will be developed according to the storyboard which was authored by instructional designer and under the supervision of the subject matter experts.

Stage 5: LO's will be produced according to E-learning standard (IEEE-LOM) in the form of a SCO (Sharable Content Object)

Stage 6: LO's will be stored on a learning object repository (LOR).

Stage 7: LO's will be packaged according to an agreed scheme of course structure which forms the standard SCORM 2004 courseware.

Stage 8: Courseware will be uploaded and stored on Learning Management System (LMS)

The stages mentioned above explain the importance of choosing the strategy that will be applied when developing the Learning Objects. To produce a new interactive model for developing Learning Objects, we will choose two models for designing the Learning Objects then, will add the usability factors as described in figure (5(.

Design by using one or more developing LO's Model

E-Learning

E-Content

Learning Objects

Usability

Factors

+ + + +

Figure 1 : adding usability factors to Learning Objects

Developing a New Model for Interactive Learning Objects

The researcher introduces a new Model for designing Learning Objects that combines two models introduced in 2 (ADDIE) Model and (ARCS) Model, then add the usability factors introduced in chapter 3, to come up with a new model.

A new model for designing learning objects that combines the ADDIE and ARCS models will be introduced. The new model will also add the usability factors described in chapter 3. The new Model is shown in figure (6).

ARCS Models

ADDIE Model

Figure 2 : how to combine between ADDIE & ARCS Model

ARCS Models

ADDIE Model

Learnability

Efficiency

Memorability

Errors

Satisfacation

The final phase of the new model is to add the usability factors in each stage of the development of the Learning Object. The new model that combine between the design models and the usability factors as shown in figure (7( is named ADDIE ARCS USABILITY FACTORS (AAUF) Model.

Usability Factors

Figure 3 : A new ADDIE ARCS USABILITY FACTORS (AAUF) Model

ADDIE ARCS Usability Factors (AAUF) Model

This section describes the new AAUF model, elements of each model and usability factors is shown in Table (1).

ADDIE Development Stages

ARCS Methods ( Motivation Elements )

Usability Factors

Analysis

Design

Development

Implementation

Evaluation

Gain the learners Attention:

Humor.

Using the Specific examples.

The Variability.

The Conflict way.

Relevance

Needs Matching.

The Experience.

Future Usefulness

The Modeling.

The Choices.

Confidence

Provide objectives and prerequisites.

Grow the Learners.

Learner Control.

The feedback.

Satisfaction

Learnability:

how easy users can understand the layout and the interlace of the program.

Efficiency:

how quickly can users perform tasks?

Memorability:

how easily can users remember how to use the site or program?

Errors:

How many errors do users make, how severe are these errors, and how easily can they recover from the errors?

Satisfaction:

How pleasant is it to use the design?

Table 1 : ADDIE development stages, ARCS motivation elements, Usability Factors

As illustrated in table 1, the following sections will list each of the ADDIE model development stages of Learning Objects with consideration of the ARCS Model that focuses on Attention, Relevence, Confidence and Satisfacation, and usability factors such as: Learnability, Efficiency, Memorability, Errors and Satisfacation. Such elements can be applied to one stage or multiple stages as discussed in the following section.

4.3.1 The Analysis stage

Analysis stage is the longest stage, it basically starts when the idea emerges. It is essential at this stage to plan to produce an interactive educational courseware carefully before authoring it on the computer (Luther, 1994). Bearing this in mind, the developer must precisely define the needs for developing the educational software,  in which a target audience must be specified, educational background and the requirements of the learning materials must be analysed and assessed, and objectives must be written. In addition, the educational setting and learners' characteristics, environments, and culture must be understood (Whittlestone et al, 1993; Falk and Carlson, 1995).

In this stage, many factors should be determined such as the courseware's objectives and the objectives of each learning object, the learning outcomes, deviding the courseware into learning units, and the evaluation strategy. In addition, the technical side of creating the courseware shouldn't be neglected. Usability factors affect the technical side to define the proper applications and tools needed to improve the effectiveness and accuracy of the program.

In this stage the designer should consider the ARCS elements such as confidence, and relevence as mentioned in table 1.

The important criterias that can be derived from our discussion in this stage is :

-Courseware content: which is "an educational software entity that contains different knowledge components, yet it resembles the objectives of a traditional course. (Karmouch, 1998).

Courseware should be designed according to many parameter such as: course objectives, learners characteristics, the estimated time for each educational unit, and the educational environment , etc.

4.3.2 The Design stage

The second stage is the Design which consist of specifying the structure and the style of the software. The Design stage shall be represented as one of the most important stages for preparing the Learning Objects because the instructional designer will translate the courseware units into visual scenes. This translation is done to deliver the educational information and achieve the determined goal.

Because of the importance of this stage, the elements of ARCS Model (Attention, Relevence, Confidence, Satisfication) shall be used to verify learners' motivation, interest, and enjoyment when using the Learning Objects. In addition employing usability factors like (Learnability, Effeciency, Memorability) will create user-interaction and user friendly interface.(see table 1)

The following are the most important factors when designing the courseware and user interface:

4.3.2.1 Educational units design

Courseware consists of many educational units, each unit should be designed to be correlated with educational goals and the behavioral objectives. This can be done by instructional designers and subject expert. The best educational unit practice is to include scenes such as objectives, activities, practices, and tests. Educational units shall be designed by creating the storyboard for each scene.

4.3.2.2 Creating the Storyboards

storyboards is "a tool used by the instructional designer to imagine how to present the educational unit consisting of comic-strip-like drawings of individual shots or sequences, with written descriptions for each drawing or frame". Upon creating the storyboard, the goals of the educational units must be defined, and the presentation will demonstrate every part of the educational unit to garantee the interaction and motivation upon presenting the educational stories.

4.3.2.3 Designing the interface

User interface design as described by Lisa Lopuck "is the process of ergonomically and strategically presenting media in order to communicate a message" (Lopuck, 1996). The goal of the interface is to make the organizational structure and content visible and to facilitate the interaction. (Ring and Ring, 1997)

4.3.2.4 The Educational and cultural Environment:

Choudhury defined the culture as "a way of life of a group of people-the behaviors, beliefs, values, and symbols that they accept, generally without thinking about them, and that are passed along by communication and imitation from one generation to the next", also stated that culture is a collective programming of the mind that distinguishes the members of one group or category of people from another" (Choudhury, 2009).

Designers of educational interfaces should be aware of the cultural features of the program in which it is important to have a mechanism to understand the cultural elements of the target user. These mechanisms are needed not only to provide "good" cultural educational multimedia interfaces to users across multiple cultures, but also to serve as tools for users that have specific culture.

4.3.2.5 Selecting Multimedia elements

Multimedia is "the integration of multiple forms of media". This includes text, graphics, audio, video, etc. Educational software that involves animations, sound, and text is called "multimedia software" (Guttormsen-Schär and Krueger 2000). These multimedia elements should be selected carefully to keep up with the educational goals and the characteristics of learners.

It is important to specify the graphical and multimedia elements, user-interface and the course content based on the learning objectives. The instructional designer document should be produced at the end of this stage.

Some important criterias that can be derived in this stage are:

-Learning objects: which is "A digital self-contained and reusable entity, with a clear educational purpose, with at least three internal and editable components: content, learning activities and elements of context" (Rehak and Mason, 2003).

-Accuracy: which means that the courseware free from any repetition mistakes and free from designing or programming defaults.

- Cultural consideration: it is important to design a storyboard acoording to Learners' culture and environment.

4.3.3 Development stage:

Barker defines authoring as "The activities involved in preparing courseware materials for use in computer-based interactive learning environments" (Barker, 1989). Based on the design stage we develop the content and the educational tools.

In this stage Instructional designer should consider the elements of ARCS Model (Attention, Relevence, Confidence, Satisfication) and the usability factors (Learnability, Effeciency, Memorability, Errors, Satisfication) as mentioned in table 1. In this satge we will use all the ARCS Model elements and all the usability factors to satisfay our goal.

To develop Interactive Learning Objects, some important criteria's that can be derived from this stage are: User interface, Multimedia, interactivity and control, Assistance and Orientation, and Accuracy and Safety.

4.3.3.1 User interface

Buchanan stresses that multimedia user interfaces are harder to build and maintain than traditional user interfaces, because they contain multiple pieces of data that must be presented effectively (Buchanan et al, 1993). The development of the user interface, however, should be independent of the production of media (Jarz et al, 1995). The following are the most important Criterias that shall be focused upon when designing user interface:

Hyperlinks and Navigation Tools:

Hyperlinks are the most basic interactive component between a learners and the educational software. Navigation tools Hyperlink guide the learners to move through the educational unit. That's why, it is important to overlook hyperlink and navigation tools when designing the educational software.

Consistency:

McCracken and Wolfe define Consistency as "making related items look the same" (McCracken and Wolfe, 2004). The designer should provide consistency between all the parts of the educational software in regards to course structure, links, activities, colors, etc.

Accessibility

Accessibility is "the ability to receive, use, and manipulate data and operate controls included in electronic and information technology" (Arkansas, 1999). The learners must be able to access and interact with the educational unit in easy and fast way.

Usability

Usability is defined as "the extent to which a product can be used by specified users to achieve specified goals with effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction in a specified context of use" (Daly-Jones et al, 1997).

4.3.3.2 Multimedia

Effective courseware consists of combination of multimedia elements such as audio, text, graphic, and animation (Sowey, 2001). In this stage the developer should be aware when choosing the multimedia; the following are the most important multimedia elements that shall be focused upon in this stage:

Text:

Designers of multimedia learning programs should consider how to present text in an acceptable way to ensure the efficiency of their applications. Boyle outlined some recommendations regarding the use of text in educational multimedia programs (Boyle, 1997):

Be consistent in using fonts, size, colours in each screen.

Keep text in small quantities in each screen.

Line spacing should be kept to 1.5 or 2, avoiding single space.

Use different typefaces, fonts, sizes for titles, subtitles and headings.

Keep combinations of upper and lower case text rather than just uppercase.

Choose convenient combinations of text and background colours.

Graphics and Static image:

Graphics can be incorporated with multimedia applications in order to illustrate facts, and to add realism to the multimedia application (Sponder and Hilgenfeld, 1994). It is recommended not to use graphics just to add interest, but to help learners to understand and remember what's on the screen, and emphasized to use high quality images to encourage recognition.

Sound

Evidence shows that the use of sound can add considerably to the efficacy of the program and improve the amount of information received and retained by the learner (Orr et al, 1994). In addition, sound is not only successful for attracting attention, but also to reinforce information which is also presented textually or graphically. The following are general guidelines recommended by Janet Leonard when incorporating sound in the multimedia courseware (Leonard, 1994):

Use music as a welcoming statement at the start of the application.

Use sound only to give support for the program not for the sound itself.

Provide an option to switch the sound on and off.

Avoid a very long sound segment.

If using sound as a human speech, use more than one voice.

If possible, allow audio elements to be paused and resumed.

Video

Stratfold describes three roles that video can play, motivational in which it motivates the learner, cognitive where the learner can learn from it, and experimental in which it fulfils experimental objectives (Stratfold, 1994). A central point is not to use large numbers of video clips that is due to the big storage space they require and to the absence of efficient compression techniques (Vaughan, 1996). Many issues should be considered when designing the Video, Such as:

The time of video should be suitable.

The synchronization of video shot with the texts.

Suitability of sound speed (comment) with the video shot.

Selecting the appropriate video shot with the educational situation.

Adding the ability of control to stop or set the sound.

4.3.3.3 Interactivity

Interactive Courseware is defined as "a training program controlled by a computer that relies on learners input to determine the order and pace of instruction delivery". The learners advance through the sequence of instructional events by making decisions and selections. The instruction branches according to the learners' responses (A. M. Cohen, H. Cuypers, 2005).

Many issues should be considered when designing the interactivity and control of the educational program, Such as:

The possibility of selection among the different patterns of interactions between the learners and the courseware content.

Providing the courseware with special records for each learner to note in it his data and numbers of his entry and his period of time in each time.

Providing the courseware with a method of interaction to receive the enquiries of the learners and facilitate the link between the instructors and the learners.

Delivering a list by the name of learners and their emails to keep in touch with each other.

Provide the learners with a space to publish whatever they have from ideas or suggestions for their colleagues and their instructor without any need for the email.

The instructor shall control the concatenation of the content show .

Providing the instructor with the sufficient time to give his response .

4.3.3.4 Assistance and Orientation

The users shall be provided with the assistance and the proper orientation to avoid the mistakes of the program and gain the users' acceptance and their satisfaction of this program. So it is needed to be sure of the following elements.

There are many issues that should be considered when designing the assistance and orientation, Such as:

The guidance is determined in every page to help users learn how to use the courseware.

Provide feedback such as textual animation or audiy alert when users do something wrong.

4.3.3.5 Accuracy and Safety:

There are many issues that should be considered when designing the accurancy and safety, Such as :

Purifying the courseware from any repetition .

The text should be free from any designing or programming mistakes .

Orienting the students to keep the student's data in secret .

The record of each student, no one except him shall view it .

4.3.4 Implementation (Operation) stage:

In this stage the model will be implemented (operated) by delivering or distributing the materials to the learners. After delivery, the effectiveness of the program is determined.

The important criteria that can be derived from our discussion in this stage is the performance which mean any analysis that predicts the behavior of a system or system component under a given set of constant and/or transient conditions. It must include estimates of effects of uncertainties in data and modeling. (Keller, 1983)

Many factors can affect the performance such as: user cognitive inputs of ability, user skills, user prior knowledge of courseware, motivation, user ability, and the amount of user's control offered. Which are linked to the elements of ARCS Model (Attention, Relevence, Confidence, Satisfication) and the usability factors (Learnability, Effeciency, Memorability, Errors, Satisfication).

4.3.5 Evaluation stage:

Folkers defines evaluation "... concerns the product, the process of using the product, and the assessment of learning outcomes with use of the product" (Folkers, 1994). During this stage, there are some tests that are determined to evaluate the educational software to get the feedback from the reviewers, and the usability test will be used on the educational software to be sure of its usability. The evaluation of the model will consists of formative evaluation and summative evaluation. Formative evaluation presents in each stage of the AAUF process. Summative evaluation consists of a tests designed for criterion-related referenced items and providing opportunities for feedback from the users. Revisions are made as necessary.

In this stage the instructional designers and users should test the availability of the ARCS elements and usability factors mentioned in table 1.

4.4 Standards for designing the interactive learning objects:

In this section the researcher introduces a standard for designing interactive Learning Objects based on the factors discussed earlier in this chapter. These criteria's are derived from the models and factors in each stages. The researcher believes that applying these criteria's when developing Learning Objects will provide usable interactive objects. These criteria's are:

Availability of courseware content.

Availability of Learning Objects.

Content design.

Cultural consideration.

Multimedia software.

Navigational tools.

Hyperlinks design.

Consistency.

Accessibility.

Interactivity and control.

Orientation.

Accuracy.

Safety.

Usability

Performance.

A case study in which educational software is evaluated using previously discussed criteria's is applied in the following chapter.

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