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Navigation and learning in electronic texts - Volume 2

Armitage, U. M. (2004). Navigation and learning in electronic texts - Volume 2. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)


Electronic texts are an essential component of many e-Leaming environments and previous research has shown that the type of navigation aid employed has a significant impact upon the quality of learning with such texts. This thesis provides a rich insight into the types of navigation aids that are most effective in educational electronic texts and extends previous research in this area by means of theoretical and empirical investigations.

A comprehensive framework of constructivism and navigation is presented that describes key themes in constructivism and implications of these themes for navigation aids in educational electronic texts. This framework is used to formulate hypotheses about navigation aids and learning, and a subset of these hypotheses is then selected for further investigation. The selected hypotheses build on previous empirical research on navigation and learning and concern the effects of navigational freedom (the degree of choice a learner has in deciding which page to visit in an electronic text) and the effects of a novel approach to navigation: allowing learners to create their own navigation aids. Two experimental studies test these hypotheses and a third then extends the research.

Experiment 1 investigates the effects on learning of the level of navigational freedom offered by a navigation aid. Experiment 2 investigates the effects on learning of allowing the learner to create their own navigation aids. The findings from these experiments indicate that navigational freedom and allowing learners to create their own navigation aids have little or negative impact on learning. Experiment 3 extends the work in experiment 2 by examining the effects on learning of allowing learners to adapt existing navigation aids, and focuses in particular on adapting maps. The findings indicate that allowing learners to adapt maps has benefits for some aspects of learning, cognitive load and usability.

There are four main contributions of the thesis that may be used to inform future research on navigation and learning. Firstly, the framework of constructivism provides a broad context for investigations into the effects of navigation aids on learning. Secondly, three in depth experimental studies are presented. Thirdly, detailed analyses of the experimental data are conducted. Finally, the results of these analyses are distilled into a set of practical implications that can be used to inform designers and researchers of educational electronic texts.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA76 Computer software
Departments: School of Science & Technology > Computer Science > Human Computer Interaction Design
School of Science & Technology > School of Science & Technology Doctoral Theses
Doctoral Theses
[thumbnail of Armitage thesis 2004 Vol 2 PDF-A.pdf]
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