User Interface Designs, Task Categories and Training

User Interface Designs, Task Categories and Training

Christina K. Curnow (ICF International, USA), Jeremy A. Henson (ICF International, USA) and Robert A. Wisher (Naval Postgraduate School, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61350-516-8.ch003


This chapter provides a preliminary framework for learner centered user interface design across a variety of training categories. To arrive at this framework, the authors explore (1) user interface design principles and the extent to which they apply to learning environments, (2) the learner centric psychological principles that should be included in the design of learner interfaces, and (3) methods by which training tasks are categorized. The overarching premise of the framework is that designs that are compatible with the psychology of learning promote learning, and ultimately performance, better than those that do not. This seemingly simple concept is sometimes in conflict with user interface design principles for other purposes, such as general purpose websites or marketing campaigns. The framework results in a notional configuration of 27 learner centered training interfaces, which are analyzed for their relevance to user interface design. The chapter concludes with a call for further research to determine best practices in learner interface design.
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In the past century, significant progress was made in understanding the training of skills and abilities, even performance at an expert level (Clark & Wittrock, 2000). The psychological principles of learning and instruction have led to cognitive models that focus on the critical roles of the learner’s cognition, including motivation, memory, comprehension, attention, and the active construction of meaning and understanding (Newell, 1990). These models converge on the human memory system and the processes that attend, transform, store, and retrieve information during learning and later during performance on the job. Note that such models focus on the capacity of the individual to learn and perform, and thus can be viewed from a learner-centered point of view.

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