Graduation Year

2005

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Ph.D.

Degree Granting Department

Secondary Education

Major Professor

James White, Ph.D.

Keywords

Scrolling, WBT, Interface design, CBI, Paging, Usability, Instructional design, Non-scrolling, Computer-based instruction, Web-based instruction, Screen layout

Abstract

This is a report on research regarding the screen layout of Web-based training (WBT) programs, conducted with an eye toward providing evidence-based guidance for the design and development of WBT interfaces. Specifically, the study investigated the relative instructional benefits of two general types of WBT screen design, full-page and partial-page, in terms of both learner performance and learner satisfaction. The main hypotheses of the study were that the full-page design option would yield significantly better outcomes in both categories of interest.The study employed a mixed-method design, generating both quantitative and qualitative data. The main phase of the study was experimental, following a factorial design to explore the relationships between a single treatment variable (WBT screen design) in two treatment conditions (partial-page WBT design and full-page WBT design) and two dependent variables (learner performance and learner satisfaction). Both a full-page and

a partial-page version of the same Web-based tutorial were created, and 129 self-selected undergraduate students who reported having little or no experience with the tutorial subject matter were randomly assigned into the two treatment groups. Performance data were collected as scores on the tutorial's 18-item, multiple choice final exam, and satisfaction data were collected via a 10-item satisfaction survey. In addition, 59 of the study participants were randomly selected to participate in post-study session interviews.The results of the study yielded no significant difference between the two treatment groups for either learner performance or learner satisfaction; thus, making it impossible to reject the null hypothesis for either of the two primary research questions. The conclusion of this study was that the presence or absence of scrolling alone is not a significant factor either in how well a person performs in a WBT program or how satisfied they are with the learning experience

. However, while analysis of the post-study session interview data supported this conclusion, the fact that a large majority of the interviewees stated a preference for the full-page, non-scrolling WBT interface design suggests that some elements inherent in the full-page design might warrant further consideration and/or study.

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