Sep 04 2013

How to Gauge the Usability of Your Online Learning: 10 questions to ask your e-Learning developer

The assumption that there are several dependent layers of usability  influencing the quality of online learning experience has been presented at least almost a decade ago. Interestingly enough, these usability layers are still useful to gauge the pedagogical usability of the current online learning environments. The followings are questions you need to ask your e-Learning Developer to ensure the pedagogical usability of your online learning environment.

 

1. Is your online learning environment free from broken links?

404 Error Message.

404 Error Message.

 

2. Can you guarantee that your online learning environment has at least 99.9% up-time?

503 Error Graph.

503 Error Graph.

 

3. For online resources and postings, can you guarantee a download, upload and response time faster than 10 seconds?

Frustration in Waiting.

Frustration in Waiting.

 

4. If your online learning environment requires plugins, have you got a good plugin strategy?

Microsoft Silverlight Plug-In Error Message.

Microsoft Silverlight Plug-In Error Message.

 

5. Does your online learning environment work consistently and reliably for cross-device and cross-platform experience?

Dog wearing Google Glass.

Dog wearing Google Glass.

 

6. Can the users of your online learning environment get what they need in less than 5 clicks, taps (or gestures for augmented reality)?

 

 

Learning via App.

Learning via App.

 

7. Are your online resources and activities clustered strategically to cater for learner behaviour and pedagogical strategy?

 

Learner Behaviour in Action.

Learner Behaviour in Action.

 

8. How do you deal with the specific needs of each learning module or even learning sequence?

Online Learning in Rural Area.

Online Learning in Rural Area.

 

9. Does your online learning environment support good principles of assessment that may include fairness, flexibility, reliability, validity and authenticity?

Documenting Learning e-Portfolios.

Documenting Learning e-Portfolios.

 

10. Does your online learning environment support social learning and a good feedback strategy?

Social Learning and Sharing.

Social Learning and Sharing.

 

So What?

If you can tick point 1-4 with confidence, you can at least say that you get the basic technical issues work well for your online learning environment. Fulfilling point 1-6 means that your users can confidently access your online learning environment anytime, anywhere, anyhow, whatever. Congratulations if you can say with confidence that you have consistently answered point 1-10 positively! Your online learning environment is more likely to be successful in achieving its purpose.

 

What’s the catch?

I wrote “more likely” because even when your elearning environment is usable, there are still other factors in play for a successful online learning, such as policy and governance, facilitators, resources, customer service and a myriad of other contextual factors in play. What can you do about it? This is another topic for another time, I guess ­čśë

Bonus Question:

Does your online learning environment support learning analytics?

Analytics Model.

Analytics Model.

 

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