Guidance in the Interface: Effects of Externalizing Information During Problem Solving

Guidance in the Interface: Effects of Externalizing Information During Problem Solving

Christof V. Tabachneck-Schijf Nimwegen (Utrecht Univeristy, The Netherlands)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-842-0.ch004
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Abstract

How can we design technology that suits human cognitive needs? In this chapter, we review research on the effects of externalizing information on the interface versus requiring people to internalize it. We discuss the advantages and disadvantages of externalizing information. Further, we discuss some of our own research investigating how externalizing or not externalizing information in program interfaces influences problem-solving performance. In general, externalization provides information relevant to immediate task execution visibly or audibly in the interface. Thus, remembering certain task-related knowledge becomes unnecessary, which relieves working memory. Examples are visual feedback aids such as “graying out” nonapplicable menu items. On the contrary, when certain needed task-related information is not externalized on the interface, it needs to be internalized, stored in working memory and long-term memory. In many task situations, having the user acquire more knowledge of the structure of the task or its underlying rules is desirable. We examined the hypothesis that while externalization will yield better performance during initial learning, internalization will yield a better performance later. We furthermore expected internalization to result in better knowledge, and expected it to provoke less trial-and-error behavior. We conducted an experiment where we compared an interface with certain information externalized versus not externalizing it, and measured performance and knowledge. In a second session 8 months later, we investigated what was left of the participants’ knowledge and skills, and presented them with a transfer task. The results showed that requiring internalization can yield advantages over having all information immediately at hand. This shows that using cognitive findings to enhance the effectiveness of software (especially software with specific purposes) can make a valuable contribution to the field of human-computer interaction.

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Table of Contents
Acknowledgments
Chapter 1
Eshaa M. Alkhalifa
Cognitively informed systems as introduced by Alkhalifa (2005b) is a perspective that encourages system designers to consider the findings of... Sample PDF
Cognitively Informed Systems: Justifications and Foundations
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Chapter 2
Colin Tattersall, Jocelyn Maderveld, Bert V.D. Berg, René van Es, José Janssen
Open and distance learning (ODL) gives learners freedom of time, place, and pace of study, putting learner self-direction centre stage. However... Sample PDF
Swarm-Based Wayfinding Support in Open and Distance Learning
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Chapter 3
Teresa Chambel, Carmen Zahn, Matthias Finke
This chapter discusses how advanced digital video technologies, such as hypervideo, can be used to broaden the spectrum of meaningful learning... Sample PDF
Hypervideo and Cognition: Designing Video-Based Hypermedia for Individual Learning and Collaborative Knowledge Building
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Chapter 4
Michael Verhaart, Kinshuk
Digital media elements, or digital assets, are used to illustrate things such as images, sounds, or events. As humans, we use many senses to assist... Sample PDF
Assisting Cognitive Recall and Contextual Reuse by Creating a Self-Describing, Shareable Multimedia Object
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Chapter 5
Christof V. Tabachneck-Schijf Nimwegen
How can we design technology that suits human cognitive needs? In this chapter, we review research on the effects of externalizing information on... Sample PDF
Guidance in the Interface: Effects of Externalizing Information During Problem Solving
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Chapter 6
Sébastien George
This chapter introduces context-aware computer-mediated communication for distance learning systems. It argues that linking deeply communication to... Sample PDF
Bridging the Gap between Human Communications and Distance-Learning Activities
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Chapter 7
Alexei Tretiakov, Roland Kaschek
Web information systems (WIS) can be considered as media. These media implement a tool language that enables access to content. Accessing that... Sample PDF
Toward Noninvasive Adaptation of Metaphores in Content
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Chapter 8
Cristina Gena, Liliana Arissono
This chapter describes the user-centered design approach we adopted in the development and evaluation of an adaptive Web site. The development of... Sample PDF
A User-Centered Approach to the Retrieval of Information in an Adaptive Web Site
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Chapter 9
Karen Lee
This chapter examines the design requirements of a social constructivist virtual learning environment. It uses the example of teaching expertise to... Sample PDF
From Engineer to Architecture? Designing for a Social Constructivist Environment
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Chapter 10
Meurig Beynon, Chris Roe
The dominant emphasis in current e-learning practice is instructionist in character. This is surprising when we consider that the benefits of... Sample PDF
Enriching Computer Support for Constructionism
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Chapter 11
Tasos Triantis
New applications in training and education are emerging daily trying to meet the requirements of distance learners. Network-based or World Wide Web... Sample PDF
An Architecture for Developing Multiagent Educational Applications for the Web
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Chapter 12
Allison J. Morgan, Eileen M. Trauth
This chapter will encourage the consideration of the role of individual differences in determining Web behavior and performance, which could inform... Sample PDF
Impact of Individual Differences on Web Searching Performance: Issues for Design and the Digital Divide
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Chapter 13
Chao-Lin Liu
This chapter purveys an account of Bayesian networks-related technologies for modeling students in intelligent tutoring systems. Uncertainty exists... Sample PDF
Using Bayesian Networks for Student Modeling
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Chapter 14
June K. Hilton
Empirical data from a California secondary school was analyzed to determine the direct and indirect effects of technology on student science... Sample PDF
The Effect of Technology on Student Science Achievement
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About the Authors