Interface design in interactive science courseware for the Malaysian Smart School Project

Kamaruddin, Norfadilah (2012) Interface design in interactive science courseware for the Malaysian Smart School Project. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.

Abstract

With the goal of improving the academic performance of primary and secondary students in Malaysia by 2020, the Malaysian Ministry of Education has made a significant investment in developing a Smart School Project. The aim of this project is to introduce interactive courseware into primary and secondary schools across Malaysia. As has been the case around the world, interactive courseware is regarded as a tool to motivate students to learn meaningfully and enhance learning experiences. Through an initial pilot phase, the Malaysian government has commissioned the development of interactive courseware by a number of developers and has rolled this courseware out to selected schools over the past 12 years. However, Ministry reports and several independent researchers have concluded that its uptake has been limited, and that much of the courseware has not been used effectively in schools. This has been attributed to weaknesses in the interface design of the courseware, which, it has been argued, fails to accommodate the needs of students and teachers.

Taking the Smart School Project's science courseware as a sample, this research project has investigated the extent, nature, and reasons for the problems that have arisen. In particular, it has focused on examining the quality and effectivity of the interface design in facilitating interaction and supporting learning experiences. The analysis has been conducted empirically, by first comparing the interface design principles, characteristics and components of the existing courseware against best practice, as described in the international literature, as well as against the government guidelines provided to the developers. An ethnographic study was then undertaken to observe how the courseware is used and received in the classroom, and to investigate the stakeholders' (school principal, teachers and students') perceptions of its usability and effectivity. Finally, to understand how issues may have arisen, a review of the development process has been undertaken and it has been compared to development methods recommended in the literature, as well as the guidelines provided to the developers.

The outcomes of the project include an empirical evaluation of the quality of the interface design of the Smart School Project's science courseware; the identification of other issues that have affected its uptake; an evaluation of the development process and, out of this, an extended set of principles to guide the design and development of future Smart School Project courseware to ensure that it accommodates the various stakeholders' needs.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 50970
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Hamilton, Jillian & Park, Ji Yong
Keywords: interface design, interactive courseware, user interaction, learning experience, development process
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 19 Jun 2012 02:29
Last Modified: 10 Sep 2015 02:20

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