What value has design in computer-based learning (CBL)? : an analysis from the student perspective
In recent years the use of Computer-Based Learning (CBL) has become the focus of much attention, for a range of stakeholders, in Higher Education and beyond. The research in the area of CBL has largely focussed on comparisons with more traditional forms of teaching and has used measurements of learning achieved to draw conclusions regarding CBL. Although the case for considering students as consumers and the need for learner centred approaches has been strongly made, there has been little in depth research on the student perspective regarding the instructional and interface design of CBL materials. This thesis seeks to address this by eliciting the views of students using CBL material within Higher Education and Business, regarding the design of a range of CBL material currently in use. The results reveal the importance of providing a range of options within the design of the CBL material in order to cater for the range of learners concerned. The results reveal the complexity involved in meeting user needs and wants when both cognitive and affective domains are considered. Importantly the use of graphics, multimedia and interactivity is revealed to have both direct and indirect value for learners. The use of on-screen text has been shown to have clear value in terms of information transfer, but to become problematic for users where it is perceived as over-used. This thesis concludes that there are benefits to be gained from the inclusion of multimedia and interactive elements within a wide range of CBL material, currently in use in Higher Education and beyond. There are also benefits for learners in the provision of both information transfer and problem solving modalities. In order to cater for a range of users the design of the CBL material should offer quality and flexibility within both instructional and interface design elements and that flexibility should be under the control of the users concerned.