The Effects of Multimedia Interface Design on Original Learning and Retention

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Virginia Tech

The goal of this research was to compare the learning outcomes of three methods of instruction: a text-based instructional system and two multimedia systems. The two multimedia systems used different interface designs. The first multimedia system used a topic-oriented interface which is somewhat standard in multimedia design. The second multimedia system presented a problem solving context and simulated an industrial setting where the user played the role of an industrial engineer. All three methods presented analogous information about Time Study Analysis, a work measurement technique used by industrial engineers.

A between subjects experimental design with two independent measures examined two domains of learning: verbal information and intellectual skills. This design was used for two sessions to examine original learning and retention components of learning. Original learning was measured immediately following the instructional treatment. Retention was measured two weeks after treatment. Thirty subjects of similar backgrounds (undergraduates in Industrial and Systems Engineering) participated in the experiment’s two sessions. Post-tests were used to measure verbal information and intellectual skills domains of learning during each session. A combined score for both domains was calculated. The scores were analyzed using ANOVA (analysis of variance). No significant differences were found between the three instructional methods for the two domains or the combined score during either the original learning session or the retention session of the experiment.

user interface design, human-computer interaction, instructional technology