Just-in-Time Knowledge and User Interface Design for Effective Hybrid Learning

Just-in-Time Knowledge and User Interface Design for Effective Hybrid Learning

Michel C. Desmarais (Polytechnique Montreal, Canada)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-380-7.ch011
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The means for hybrid learning take on many forms. In this chapter, the author looks at learning facilitators that can be embedded within the user interface. He argues that these learning means can be even more effective than formal training. The author describe different features of the user interface that can provide just-in-time knowledge and fosters learning: immersing the student into a rich environment where he can readily have access to the information for the task at hand.
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Job Aids In Work Environments

The advantages of just-in-time learning in the context of doing a task have been recognized by many, in particular in the domain of professionnal training. Gloria Gery is probably the best known proponent of the approach known as Electronic Performance Support System (EPSS) which aim at providing on the job training electronic aids. The concept is not totally new and, as Rossett and Shafer (2006) notice, job aids have been around since prehistoric times. But the availability of electronic devices to deliver this aid is giving this old concept a new life. Not only are computers more readily available, in all forms, from PDAs to large display workstations, and in all contexts with the advance of wireless networks, but they are also more and more instrumental to do our tasks.

Kasvi (2003) picks a compelling example of how the computer has become instrumental with a modern lumberjack cockpit which, nowadays, is filled with several computer and communication screens and control devices (see figure 1). Here, the computer can become a far more efficient tool in providing job aids than, say, a checklist or a user manual. In principle, such device could provide highly context sensitive aid and can even volunteer relevant information or recommentations.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Just-in-Time Learning: Learning that occurs in a timely fashion, on an as needed basis, based on the delivery of appropriate information and knowledge within task environment.

Electronic Performance Support Systems: Assistance and information provided through the user interface in a timely manner.

User-Centered and Learner-Centered Design: User-centered design is a philosophy and development process in which the needs and limitations of end users of an application or device are given extensive attention at each stage of the design process. Learner-centered design builds upon this concept to address the need to support user skills evolution and diversity.

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