miércoles, 16 de septiembre de 2009

The Psychology of Learning Environments

First, I will analyze our Moodle course management system according to the model of usability criteria.

Learnability: The Moodle course management system has a good capability that enables both teachers at the university as well as students to learn how to use it. This user interface can be learned quickly and effectively. Moodle is easy to learn because it has been designed to be easy to use based on students’ psychological properties, and because it is familiar, which means that it follows standards and its design follows students’ real world experience.

Efficiency: The rate or speed at which Moodle enables students to accurately and successfully complete a task is excellent. Both the consistent response time and the fast response time are good. Experienced Moodle users can accomplish certain tasks easy once they have learned the platform design.

Memorability: Moodle users can remember how to use the management system quickly and accurately. Moodle has incorporated a design that enables users to quickly recall what they have learned and also enables them to easily go around the platform the next time they use it. Moodle has a high learnability and this makes it even higher in memorability..

Errors: Moodle has few errors if any and this indicates that it is difficult for users to cause errors, and that even if errors occur, they are easily recovered. It seems to me that the people behind Moodle know that it is crucial to minimize errors in the management system. It is clear that confusing button layouts and error messages have been reevaluated making it difficult for us users to make a mistake. Moodle designer should make sure that if an error does occur, the platform design should allow the user to recover from the error without assistance, as much as possible.

Satisfaction: The degree of enjoyment that we Moodle users experience when visiting it is high. This usability characteristic is especially important for us who are willing to learn but at the same time want to be in some way relaxed and if possible entertained. We users who visit Moodle want to spend time learning and enjoying the learning experience, so we measure satisfaction in terms of enjoyment value as well as the speed at which we can accomplish our tasks. I do hope that to keep users coming back to Moodle, the designers keep on increasing satisfaction levels so that the platform is enjoyable and offers an active and rich learning experience.

After choosing a familiar physical learning environment and a virtual learning environment, I analyzed and compared them according to the 4 cognitive determinants of environmental preference.


A. My school’s library
(Familiar physical learning environment)

B. Virtual Sabana
(virtual learning environment)

Cognitive determinants of environmental preference.

Coherence (The ease with which a setting can be organized cognitively)

A. This physical learning environment frequently offers difficulty, hardship, or effort to some users, especially young learners as not all the books, magazines and other resources are arranged into a purposeful, sequential or spatial order or structure.

B. This virtual learning environment is free from difficulty as we users can work with many people at the same like in a virtual office. It has been created with an efficient electronic setting. This well-organized virtual workspace helps to make the flow of our cognitive work smoother and easier. We are more efficient in completing our intellectual work in a systematic way like this one.

Complexity (The perceived capacity of the setting to occupy interest and stimulate activity)

A. Basically there are two aspects which do not make this setting as interesting and stimulating to students as virtual environments:
Hours of Operation:The library is open only a set number of hoursTime restrictions:Checked-out materials must be returned

B. It has a good capacity to occupy students’ interest and stimulate their activity because it offers up-to-date news about subjects and topics in which students are interested; it is convenient as it can be accessed through a wireless device; there is a diversity of information and it offers the possibility to download and edit text and images and requires minimal computer skills.

Legibility (Perceived ease of use)

A. The traditional physical learning environment such as the school library in this case, is limited by storage space; does not have the potential to store much more information like a digital one, simply because digital information require very little physical space to contain them. The cost of maintaining a digital library is much lower than that of a traditional library. A traditional library must spend large sums of money paying for staff, book maintenance, rent, and additional books. Some users also find more difficulty, hardship, and effort to use it.

B. This virtual learning environment offers ease of use since the users feel confidence about the system security and because the users become more familiar with electronic resources. Enjoyment needs are also better met by users than those provided at the physical leaning environment.

Mystery (The perception that entering the setting would lead to increased learning, interaction, or interest)

A. As soon as users enter this physical learning environment, they already know what they can expect: books in shelves, encyclopedias, dictionaries, thesaurus, grammar books, etc. There are not many options for interaction and students’ interest decreases.

B. Entering the Virtual Sabana virtual learning environment leads users to increased learning, interaction, and interest as they find more options for different learning styles and collaborative work; students can interact with others and share experiences to gain more knowledge about a common topic or students can work on their own and use the tools available to carry out their tasks successfully and fully motivated.

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