Friday, 11 March 2016

Principles of instructional, screen and interface design for E learning in surgical education

1. Introduction
Overview on Instructional Design
Instructional design is the process by which learning is achieved through a process of creating a learning experience for the acquisition of knowledge and skills in the most efficient, effective and appealing manner. For this process to occur, the first phase would consist of assessing the current state of the learners knowledge and skills and then determining their learning needs. This is followed by creating a well-defined learning objectives which is then used as the endpoint in the whole learning experience. The various task that needs to be performed to achieve these endpoints must be based on sound pedagogical principles founded on the theories of learning. The results of the final endpoint of the learning experience must be directly observable and measurable.(Hardaway & Scamell, 2005)

The model that I prefer is the ADDIE, which encompasses the above overview, has five phases as follows;
1.     analysis
2.     design
3.     development
4.     implementation and
5.     evaluation

 ID process in relation to the development of E-Content

The ADDIE model is useful as a framework for the development of a comprehensive program. In developing the various activities and instructional strategy on how to deliver the knowledge and skills to fulfil the overall program one requires the Gagne model. Here we develop the instructional activities which will relate to the accomplishment of the objectives of the educational program.

Thus Gagne 9 events of instruction become an ideal framework to design and develop a practical course using the medium of E content.

Instructional Event
Internal Mental Process
1. Gain attention
Stimuli activates receptors
2. Inform learners of objectives
Creates level of expectation for learning
3. Stimulate recall of prior learning
Retrieval and activation of short-term memory
4. Present the content
Selective perception of content
5. Provide "learning guidance"
Semantic encoding for storage long-term memory
6. Elicit performance (practice)
Responds to questions to enhance encoding and verification
7. Provide feedback
Reinforcement and assessment of correct performance
8. Assess performance
Retrieval and reinforcement of content as final evaluation
9. Enhance retention and transfer to the job
Retrieval and generalization of learned skill to new situation

This model is preferred as it allows for the detailed planning of the instructional strategy in terms of task and activities that will be effective, efficient and engaging in the learning experience. E content, therefore allows for engagement of the learner through a process of interaction with the electronic device and this therefore can allow for repeated practice of assessment of his learning and through a process of feedback based on his interaction with the device and in the process it reinforces learning.(Dutta, Mosley, & Akhtar, 2011)

2. Interface Design
The medium through which interaction occurs between a user and an electronic device is called the interface. Traditionally this has been the keyboard and mouse. With the advancement in technology and the use of touchscreens, more intuitive forms of interaction with the interface of touchscreen is becoming a standard format. Electronic device produces an output stimuli in the form of audio or visual by means of a screen and speakers. This then elicits the response from the user to be inputted either using a keyboard mouse or a touchscreen. In more advanced systems the use of voice commands can also be an important source.(Camillan Huang, n.d.)

The design of these interfaces are therefore crucial in ensuring that the user has an engaging and satisfying experience. Therefore in designing the interface it is important to understand the needs and profile of the users and the type of task they will be involved in. This can be facilitated by participatory design in which users are incorporated in the design process. The design process must ensure that the interface is usable, consistent, intuitive, easy to learn and use, predictable, error-free and flexible.(Zaharias & Poylymenakou, 2009)

The output from the electronic device is reflected through the screen. The visuals provide the stimulus for the user to assimilate the information and then after processing, to react with interaction with the electronic device through the interface. To facilitate and optimise the absorption of the visual stimuli, screen design is crucial. The principles of designing the screen to ensure the visual perception of the information is effective, efficient and engaging is founded on Gestalts laws of screen design. (Chang, Dooley, & Tuovinen, 2002)This law explains how the brain processes visual stimuli as a whole rather than fragments of information. It has been categorised into 11 areas as follows:-
1. Balance/symmetry
2. Continuity
3. Closure 
4. Figure-ground 
5. Focus 
6. Isomorphic correspondence 
7. Good form 
8. Proximity 
9. Similarity 
10. Simplicity
11. Unity/harmony

An important consideration in the design of the interface is usability. (Zaharias & Poylymenakou, 2009)This is defined as the degree to which the interface is fit for purpose and has ease of use. It has to be of high quality and interface must be efficient, effective and satisfying for the user. The design has to be user centred and this is done by the active involvement of users and a clear understanding of the users profile, needs and task requirements.
A major component of an interactive E content is to elicit interaction of the user. This will be the task that will be required of the user to provide a response from the electronic device. It is important to clearly define what tasks are required of the user. Basically the tasks are various inputs through the interface that the user executes to instruct the device to provide a response.(Feng-Hsu Wang, 2008) The task can generally be categorised as follows:-
-          Rollovers
-          Hotspots
-          items on logic
-          number tries
-          feedback
The responses provided by the device from the users’ task can be in the form of feedback, guidance, further information, navigation and reinforcement.

The E content that I will use in this assignment is for the teaching of the anatomy and pathology of nerves.

To create the framework to design and develop this is content, a storyboard will be used. This is a technique for illustrating the interaction between the user and the learning object. It will include text, images and the connection between the interaction and the response. Its main benefit is that it will illustrate what the interface would do and how it will behave in response to user input.

Resource materials in the form of lecture videos have been deposited on YouTube as an application in the cloud. The node of the learning management system, Moodle,  with the video cloud application Youtube creates a lecture node where the lecturer has deposited content onto the cloud. The learning management system then directs the user to this resource by his interaction with the interface of the Moodle platform. The result of this interaction which will be a click on a hyperlink would lead him to a resource material.(Fernandez, Peralta, Herrera, & Benitez, 2012).

Following completion of the task of viewing the video lecture, retention and understanding is then assessed with the use of the inbuilt activity tool of Moodle (quiz). These activities allow for feedback in the form of screen responses from the interface based on the users’ response. These can be text or audio base and provides a form of learning by assessment.
The other node will use WordPress as an application that would store case based discussions using digital images as triggers to test the application of the knowledge gained in the learning object. These case based discussions would have been produced by the lecturers and posted on the Application. Responses from the user will be obtained from both these nodes in the form of formative assessment with the use of quizzes and assignments.

N1 adn N2 - lectures and discussions delivered by lecturers
A1 and A1 - required task by the learners through interactive assessment tools

 Effect of interface design on each nodes   
As the resource materials in node one and node two are hosted on cloud applications of YouTube and WordPress, the interface within Moodle will have to ensure a clear and intuitive object for the user to interact to reach this resource. This is easily provided by the Moodle platform by the use of hyperlink text. This fulfils Gestalts Isomorphic correspondence   on the screen and interface design.(Chang et al., 2002) This can be performed by various means on the Moodle platform. The interface can respond to the users’ interaction by clicking on the hyperlink text by opening the link in a new window or as a pop-up box. This response by the system can be disturbing and loose the engagement of the user as they leave the learning environment. It would be preferable that the interface design for these nodes are such that they are embedded within Moodle framework. This therefore allows for consistency of the screen and facilitates ease of use and a smooth flow of the processes during the learning experience. It also facilitates the ease of navigation and provides focus on location within the whole program.
The interface for Human-Computer Interaction, and has influenced the work and communication of all computer literates. It has become a default requirement of all computer user Also studies have shown that the geometrical factors of the graphical structures of a computer screen play an important role in the context of operation efficiency. (Michalski, Grobelny, & Karwowski, 2012)

For interactive E content to be effective the interface between the computer or device and the user has to be carefully designed to ensure that the user has an efficient and effective interaction that provides a satisfactory experience at the end of the learning. This requires knowledge of the users’ needs and profile. It is not only developing the content but also in the design of the interface to ensure that the user interaction is smooth, efficient, intuitive and error-free. Therefore in designing interactive E content, apart from the development of the content, how the user interacts with the content is crucial in ensuring optimal navigation of the learning object and with adequate feedback, knowledge is transferred and acquired.
Therefore the design of the interface and screen and the task required by the user should be clear, consistent and intuitive to ensure a meaningful and satisfying learning experience for the user.


Camillan Huang. (n.d.). Designing high-quality interactive multimedia learning modules. Computerized Medical Imaging and Graphics, 29, 223–233. doi:10.1016/j.compmedimag.2004.09.017
Chang, D., Dooley, L., & Tuovinen, J. E. (2002). Gestalt theory in visual screen design: a new look at an old subject. In Proceedings of the Seventh world conference on computers in education conference on Computers in education: Australian topics-Volume 8 (pp. 5–12). Australian Computer Society, Inc. Retrieved from
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Feng-Hsu Wang. (2008). Content Recommendation Based on Education-Contextualized Browsing Events for Web-based Personalized Learning. Journal of Educational Technology & Society, 11(4), 93–112.
Fernandez, A., Peralta, D., Herrera, F., & Benitez, J. M. (2012). An overview of E-learning in cloud computing. In Workshop on Learning Technology for Education in Cloud (LTEC’12) (pp. 35–46). Springer. Retrieved from
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Michalski, R., Grobelny, J., & Karwowski, W. (2012). The effects of graphical interface design characteristics on human-computer interaction task efficiency. arXiv:1211.6712 [cs]. doi:10.1016/j.ergon.2006.06.013
Zaharias, P., & Poylymenakou, A. (2009). Developing a Usability Evaluation Method for e-Learning Applications: Beyond Functional Usability. International Journal of Human-Computer Interaction, 25(1), 75–98. doi:10.1080/10447310802546716

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