E-Learning Design from a "Quality of Experience" Perspective: Heuristics and Case-Studies

E-Learning Design from a "Quality of Experience" Perspective: Heuristics and Case-Studies

Franca Garzotto (Politecnico di Milano, Italy)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-940-3.ch005
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Abstract

This chapter considers technology-enhanced educational activities spanning along a significant period of time, and explores this context from a “quality of experience” perspective. Rather than addressing the design of technology, interface, or interactive contents for learning, our main focus is the exploration of the process-oriented, affective, socio-contextual issues involved in the design of prolonged workflows of e-learning activities. We propose a set of heuristics for designing e-learning experiences that can maintain learners’ engagement along the time and achieve durable, profound educational benefits in the educational context in which they take place, and are valuable for all involved stakeholders. We also pinpoint that involving learners as experience design partners is fundamental for these purposes. Our approach is exemplified by widely discussing two case studies that involve different technologies (shared 3D virtual worlds and online collaborative storytelling) in different educational contexts – high and primary schools.
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Rationale And Background

The term “experience” is associated to a wide range of concepts at different levels of abstraction and no cohesive theory of experience and experience design currently exists.

In Interaction Design, an experience is defined as the set of user-product interactions and all aspects of “experiencing” an interactive product – physical, sensual, emotional, social, and aesthetic (Marcus 2002, Norman 2004, McClennan 2005). A number of works attempt to indentify the factors that contribute to the “quality of experience”, broadly defined as “ how well a product serves its purposes, how well it fits into the entire context in which it is used, how pleasant and valuable it is for its users” (Alben 1996). Still, most of these works focus on “short experiences”, which involve sporadic or episodic interactions for short periods of time. For this kind of experiences, quality is defined in terms of various design attributes, such as aesthetics of the interface (Austin 2000, Dalsgård & Halskov 2006, Desmet 2006, Norman 2004, Alben 1996) and usability of lay-out, information architecture, or task flow (Garret 2002).

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