Web design for effective online training and instruction.
Patsula, Peter J.
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The following is a research/experimental thesis that surveys and examines web-design for effective online training and instruction. The purpose of the thesis is to create -- from a variety of relevant learning theories and practical web-design strategies advocated in the research literature -- a Web-based instruction checklist that can be used to develop and assess online instructional materials. This checklist, referred to as WeBIC, is structured around the common ISD processes of analysis, design, development, implementation, and evaluation, with a focus on ‘Web Usability’ and ‘the Five Ps’ of preparation, presentation, participation, practice and performance. To determine the usefulness of WeBIC as a design and evaluation tool, three studies have been generated: (1) an experimental comparison study of online instructional materials in two formats -- a web-study one that follows guidelines and strategies outlined by WeBIC, and the other that follows a text-only format based on a modified form of thesis writing guidelines; (2) an analysis study of server data related to website access and instructional activity at ESLenglish.com and during the comparison study; and (3) an evaluation study of the instructional materials used in the comparison study and the instructional materials available at ESLenglish.com. The comparison study showed 2.1% learning gains that under closer analysis were found to be non-significant. The server analysis study confirmed the importance of designing for ‘speed of access’ and ‘navigation ease.’ It also brought into question the reliability of web mining data and the need for proper operational definitions. The evaluation study produced WeBIC scores for ESLenglish.com and the comparison study learning materials that could be used as benchmarks for further research.