ERIC Number: ED374770
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1994-Apr
Reference Count: N/A
From Information Searching to Learning: A Comparison of Contrasting Hypertextual Menu Designs for Computer-Based Instructional Documents.
Lai, Yee-Rong; Waugh, Michael L.
This study examined the influence of three different combinations of document structures and menu designs on users' attitude, performance, and learning in five different search tasks. The three types of combinations studied were: (1) an explicit menu signaling hierarchical structure where cross-referencing was not supported (EXH--explicit and hierarchical); (2) an explicit menu signaling hierarchical structure in which cross-referencing capability was embedded (EXN--explicit and network); and (3) an embedded menu signaling both hierarchical structure and cross-referencing capability (EMN--embedded and network). Based upon the specificity, complexity, and boundary of the search targets, five types of searches were studied--when the target was: simple and fully known; simple but not partially known; complex and fully known; complex but only partially known; and complex and the condition for terminating the search was unclear. Results showed that providing cross-reference links in small- or medium-sized online documents can improve search accuracy but not efficiency. EXN produces the best search accuracy, and EMN encourages in-depth search for tasks that are complex and not fully known. Although EXN was best received by the subjects, it resulted in a greater sense of getting lost for those who used the referential links and backtracking links more often. Causes of this disorientation, reasons why EXN and EMN produced better performance were discussed and search strategies employed by the subjects were investigated. The questionnaire used in the study is appended. (Contains 54 references.) (JLB)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A