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Nov 11, 10

The paper presents an empirical study with a digital educational game (DEG) called 80Days that aims at teaching geographical content. The goal of the study is twofold: (i) investigating the potential of the eye-tracking approach for evaluating DEG; (ii) studying the issue of vicarious learning in the context of DEG. Twenty-four university students were asked to view the videos of playing two micro-missions of 80Days, which varied with regard to the position of the non-player character (NPC) window (i.e. lower right vs. upper left) and the delivery of cognitive hints (i.e. with vs. without) in this text window. Eye movements of the participants were recorded with an eye-tracker. Learning effect and user experience were measured by questionnaires and interviews. Significant differences between the pre- and post-learning assessment tests suggest that observers can benefit from passive viewing of the recorded gameplay. However, the hypotheses that the game versions with cognitive hints and with the NPC window on the upper left corner can induce stronger visual attention and thus better learning effect are refuted.

Sep 21, 10

Children with dyslexia and attention deficit disorders often have problems in short term memory, yet can benefit from learning strategies for remembering. In this paper, we describe the design of a multimedia educational game called Memory Challenge to help children with Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLDs) learn strategies for memory and to develop their cognitive skills. We focus in our approach on the involvement of children with SpLDs and domain specialists and practitioners in the design process. Involving various
participants from our target population (native Arabic-speaking users) in different stages of our design process was effective in obtaining an insight into the needs of people with SpLDs and has contributed to the design with actionable implications.

Aug 06, 10

The purpose of this research study was to understand the construct of usability from the perspective of 74 students enrolled in six online courses offered by one online and distance learning program at a large, public university in the Midwest. Six courses, designed and developed by two different groups, professional and nonprofessional developers, were selected. The study used both quantitative and qualitative measures to record the experiences of students enrolled in the six online courses. First, the courses were evaluated using Nielsen’s (1994, 2000, 2002) heuristics as operationalized by the Xerox Heuristic Evaluation Checklist (1995) as a standard measure of usability, then rank-ordered by heuristic evaluation score. Eachus and Cassidy’s (2006) Computer Use Self-efficacy Scale was used as a pre-course survey to measure students’ computer selfefficacy prior to beginning their online course. Stewart, Hong, and Strudler’s (2004) Quality of Web-based Instruction was used as a post-course survey to measure student satisfaction with their online course experience. A subset of 29 students participated in usability testing sessions in the usability lab. A think-aloud protocol provided qualitative data in the form of verbal reports, eye-tracking recordings provided data confirming the think-aloud protocol data, and a time-error log provided “time to complete tasks,” and “error rate” data as students completed seven typical tasks required to successfully participate in an online course. A summary, debriefing interview with each student was conducted to record any additional student comments and any student recommendations for improving the courses. Qualitative data were examined for themes and a coding scheme was created. This coding scheme, which ...

Mar 08, 10

Empirical evaluation of visualizations has so far been typically carried out by measuring the performance of participants that have been shown the visualization in relation to control group by grading programming tasks. Such studies tell little about what effects take place during the visualizations and how these effects build up into the learning effects. To address these issues, we are carrying out a series of experiments using visualization tools whose long-term effects are known.This paper presents a model of the cognitive phenomena that take place during visualization viewing sessions and describes an experiment where two visualization tools that differed in the amount of animation were used. The results show that even when participants were provided with rich visual information in the form of animations, they resorted heavily to the textual cues present on the screen. As the animation proceeded, participants started to follow visual cues more closely. However, if the names of the variables involved in the current operation were not in the visually cued area, participants tended to search for them in the program code. In the absence of animation, participants were more eager to browse the code in general.

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