The Convergence Model Implements Accessible Information Creating Effective ICT Tools for Our Forgotten Ones

The Convergence Model Implements Accessible Information Creating Effective ICT Tools for Our Forgotten Ones

Elspeth McKay (RMIT University,School of Business Information Technology and Logistics, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-057-0.ch024
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In defining ‘effective HCI’ one may turn to the literature. While there can be no doubt that the ‘techno-vista’ has changed dramatically in the past decade; there are many new entries in the literature, which still elevate the mechanistic orientation of information communications technology (ICT), placing the social connectedness of human beings in a dependent context. Professor Bradley’s voice however shines through revealing her polite yet determined mindset that places human beings in the technological driving seat. This chapter presents a reprinted paper (McKay, 2007b) to acknowledge Professor Bradley’s dedicated encouragement for research into the interactive effects of ICT tools and computer literacy on the ‘multifaceted’ nature of human beings. As Professor Bradley explains that to test her ‘Convergence Model’, “…. we must develop new concepts to reflect the changes that are occurring, and grasp the latest new phenomena in depth” (Bradley, 2006, p.57). Effective HCI means having a trusted, interactive and communicative computing environment that lets users decide whether to trust it for a particular purpose, or not; furthermore, effective educational HCI is about knowing how to develop a learning design that provides access to an education information system that is easy to use, offering a safe environment for knowledge and cognitive skill development that supports the joy for life-long learning.”(McKay, 2007a, p.xii) The following reprinted McKay paper presents two such research projects that tap right into some of the issues that are faced by people through their basic right for unencumbered access to information, as described by Professor Bradley as “psychosocial life environment/quality of life and well being” (Bradley, 2006, p.61). In these funded research projects, McKay highlights the need to enhance access to Web-mediated information for those people who may need special help. Evidence gained through these projects suggests that unless we have input from the corporate sector, little progress will be forthcoming. Sadly however, this is not a new observation; the corporate sector has been on notice for several decades: “Family policy was also a part of constructive work environment actions when data processing systems were introduced” (Bradley, 2006, p.199). These two McKay research studies serve to reinforce Professor Bradley’s ‘Convergence Model’ as an effective HCI knowledge developing tool. It is however, incumbent upon the corporate sector to link the interrelating worlds of: globalisation, ICT, life environment, life role and their effects on humans.
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Effective learning is often expressed in measures of knowing. These pieces of knowledge can represent explicit activities required to become an expert in something (Bransford, Nitsch & Franks, 1997). Rarely is the achievement expressed in qualitative terms. Quality may vary according to how a learner feels about a particular learning event (Sonnier, 1989). At best, the results may take a broad view of cognitive performance that cannot be applied to individual learners experiencing learning difficulties. There are suggestions for learning orientation that involve dealing with emotions and intentions, along with cognitive and social factors (Martinez, 2000). Herein lies the first dilemma facing the design of effective learning environments, namely how to create appropriate educational environments for those people who require accessibility assistance.

The notion of effective learning design assumes equal access to instructional strategies. However, the ubiquitous nature of many online learning environments means that people who require enhanced instructional delivery modes cannot become involved. For instance, when decisions are made concerning appropriate training/education/reskilling needs for people after some type of traumatized event, it is important to differentiate what an individual knows, from what they do not. However, for this particularly sensitive group of learners there are currently no means of providing a skills/competency measurement tool that is efficient, reliable, and safe to administer.

This paper outlines two projects designed to manage this issue. The first of the two projects sought to enhance the evaluation of young peoples’ potential to participate in appropriate educational programs following a mental health episode. As both the young people and their support workers require a specialized tool to determine possibilities for educational/academic performance, it was vital to adopt a customized approach for this type of cognitive skills’ evaluation. The expected outcomes of this 1-year Telematics Trust funded research project were to provide a useful tool for young people and their Case Managers, called carers, to gauge correctly academic competency in order to offer appropriate skills building programs in the short term, and to enable planning for longer term personal goals. Therefore, it was crucial to determine individual capabilities in terms of intellectual skills, cognitive strategies, verbal information, motor skills, and attitudes (Gagne, 1985).

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