ERIC Number: EJ1016824
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Sep
Abstractor: As Provided
An Efficient Approach to Improve the Usability of e-Learning Resources: The Role of Heuristic Evaluation
Davids, Mogamat Razeen; Chikte, Usuf M. E.; Halperin, Mitchell L.
Advances in Physiology Education, v37 n3 p242-248 Sep 2013
Optimizing the usability of e-learning materials is necessary to maximize their potential educational impact, but this is often neglected when time and other resources are limited, leading to the release of materials that cannot deliver the desired learning outcomes. As clinician-teachers in a resource-constrained environment, we investigated whether heuristic evaluation of our multimedia e-learning resource by a panel of experts would be an effective and efficient alternative to testing with end users. We engaged six inspectors, whose expertise included usability, e-learning, instructional design, medical informatics, and the content area of nephrology. They applied a set of commonly used heuristics to identify usability problems, assigning severity scores to each problem. The identification of serious problems was compared with problems previously found by user testing. The panel completed their evaluations within 1 wk and identified a total of 22 distinct usability problems, 11 of which were considered serious. The problems violated the heuristics of visibility of system status, user control and freedom, match with the real world, intuitive visual layout, consistency and conformity to standards, aesthetic and minimalist design, error prevention and tolerance, and help and documentation. Compared with user testing, heuristic evaluation found most, but not all, of the serious problems. Combining heuristic evaluation and user testing, with each involving a small number of participants, may be an effective and efficient way of improving the usability of e-learning materials. Heuristic evaluation should ideally be used first to identify the most obvious problems and, once these are fixed, should be followed by testing with typical end users.
Descriptors: Foreign Countries, Heuristics, Electronic Learning, Usability, Use Studies, Instructional Design, Health Sciences, Medical Education, Comparative Analysis, Computer Interfaces, Computer Oriented Programs
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: South Africa
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A