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Usability Evaluation of E-Learning Systems

Usability Evaluation of E-Learning Systems
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Author(s): Shirish C. Srivastava (National University of Singapore, Singapore), Shalini Chandra (Nanyang Technological University, Singapore) and Hwee Ming Lam (Nanyang Technological University, Singapore)
Copyright: 2009
Pages: 7
Source title: Encyclopedia of Information Science and Technology, Second Edition
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Mehdi Khosrow-Pour, D.B.A. (Information Resources Management Association, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-026-4.ch621

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Abstract

Usability evaluation which refers to a series of activities that are designed to measure the effectiveness of a system as a whole, is an important step for determining the acceptance of system by the users. Usability evaluation is becoming important since both user groups, as well as tasks, are increasing in size and diversity. Users are increasingly becoming more informed and, consequently, have higher expectations from the systems. Moreover “system interface” has become a commodity and, hence, user acceptance plays a major role in the success of the system. Currently, there are various usability evaluation methods in vogue, like cognitive walkthrough, think aloud, claims analysis, heuristic evaluation, and so forth. However, for this study we have chosen heuristic evaluation because it is relatively inexpensive, logistically uncomplicated, and is often used as a discount usability-engineering tool (Nielsen, 1994). Heuristic evaluation is a method for finding usability problems in a user interface design by having a small set of evaluators examine an interface and judge its compliance with recognized usability principles. The rest of the chapter is organized as follows: we first look at the definition of e-learning, followed by concepts of usability, LCD, and heuristics. Subsequently, we introduce a methodology for heuristic usability evaluation (Reeves, Benson, Elliot, Grant, Holschuh, Kim, Kim, Lauber, & Loh, 2002), and then use these heuristics for evaluating an existing e-learning system, GETn2. We offer our recommendations for the system and end with a discussion on the contributions of our chapter.

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