Layers of Navigation for Hypermedia Environments: Designing Instructional Web Sites

Layers of Navigation for Hypermedia Environments: Designing Instructional Web Sites

Patricia L. Rogers (Bemidji State University, USA)
Copyright: © 2000 |Pages: 10
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-878289-59-9.ch014
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As an instructional medium, computer-based hypermedia environments (e.g., Web sites or CD-ROM materials) enable distinct and enriched activities that facilitate learning. With the pressure on educators to produce Web-based courseware and other distance educational materials, more and more instructional Web sites have been developed. However, simple access to the World Wide Web (WWW) in any course does not guarantee that learning takes place: “No computer technology in and of itself can be made to affect thinking” (Salomon, Perkins, & Globerson, 1991, p. 3). Too often, Web sites are developed for instructional uses without the aid of sound instructional design principles. Content is presented as static, verbal information pages linked to other information pages that may or may not include obvious or intuitive navigational cues for making the cognitive connections necessary for knowledge construction. That is, critical information is delivered in a potentially rich learning environment but the format of the presentation confuses or “loses” the novice learner. Such environments are most often the result of an educator’s first few attempts at Web site development. Even with the use of Web site builders and intranet templates, designing instruction for instructional hypermedia requires thoughtful attention to certain aspects of learning. Over-simplification of the complexities of an ill-structured or even a well-defined domain encourages novices to reduce the “solutions” of domain-specific problems to simplified or cookbook answers, which is known as reductive bias (Spiro, Feltovich, & Coulson, 1992). Thus what is learned from some Web sites is often not what the designer or educator intended. A deliberate instructional design strategy for educational hypermedia environments is needed.

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