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Title: Designing for learning and support : the user-centred construction and evaluation of an on-line environment for Malaysian teachers learning about digital graphics
Author: Yahaya, Noraffandy
ISNI:       0000 0001 3574 0824
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2008
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This research focused on the importance of user context in designing learning and support in an online learning environment since the increase of the use of online learning environment had produced several problems and perceptions among students. Therefore, user support system is a significant element in designing an online learning system. The study involved the processes of designing, developing, implementing, and evaluating the online learning environment and a corresponding support system for a digital graphics domain, based on a user-centred construction. In addition, the focus was on supporting the students in dealing with learning problems and technical difficulties during the online learning session. The research consisted of three stages. The first stage involved the process of gathering information regarding the user needs and their points of view toward the designs of the online learning system. Most recent models on web development only focus on tools development and learning theories without emphasising on the learner's points of view and user centred approach. Therefore, in this study, a user-centred design was used to involve the learners in the design process. In doing so, the SUNA (Scenario User Needs Analysis) and Activity Theory frameworks were used in identifying learner needs in their particular context and implementing them into the system. The second stage of the study provided the framework to support the iterative process of designing and evaluating the user's needs. The online learning system was duly developed, based on the outcomes of the iterative design process. Two cycles of iterative process were implemented in order to validate the user needs and to test the system functionality. Finally, the modification process was made and the final system was produced. The third stage involved the implementation and evaluation of the system through online distance learning students in Malaysia. The aim was to investigate what the students had learnt from the system, how the students learnt using the system, how they made use of the tools for learning and the contribution of the system and support to their learning outcomes. The Activity Theory framework was used to analyse the interaction between the learners and their learning environment. The outcomes of the analysis were presented as case studies to determine the interaction of the students with their surrounding artefacts such as tools, community, rules and division of labour. The results of the study indicated that the system was effectively design in catering different learners' perspectives in the online learning environment. This finding is interesting, as it highlighted the system capability in fulfilling the learners' needs within their context. The case studies revealed that every student had different learning strategies and patterns of usage of the tools, when exploring the system. The meaningful interaction of the students in the case studies revealed that the system successfully helped the learners to understand the basic concept of digital graphics. The findings of the research also suggested that the learners have achieved their learning objectives by integrating their knowledge into the course assignments. It also suggested that the system and the support system had contributed to their learning by providing the students with various scaffolding facilities. The major contributions of this research are: a) the design provides effective learner support in an online environment b) the design provides evidence that it fulfils the learner's needs in the context of learning digital graphics.
Supervisor: Stevenson, I. J. ; Chambers, G. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available