A comparison of metaphorical and non-metaphorical graphical user interfaces for delivering a computer-based instructional program on stress and stress management
Jeannette S. Berkley, Lehigh University, United States
Lehigh University . Awarded
This study explored whether a metaphorical graphical user interface (MGUI) might enhance student recall and retention of content better than a more traditional interface (called NGUI, for non-metaphorical graphical user interface). Two versions of an instructional program called Coping Skills were used to compare learner performance and to suggest answers to additional research questions based on how learners interacted with their versions of the program.
Coping Skills is an 18- to 25-minute lesson on the role of sleep in managing stress. Designs for both versions of Coping Skills were based on researched principles related to the subject matter, and instructional and interface design. The MGUI version incorporated a construction-site metaphor in its interface design, while the NGUI version used a more representational “buttons-and-boxes” interface. Both content and design experts judged the two versions equivalent for research purposes.
Seventy-six volunteer undergraduates from a small Pennsylvania state university were randomly assigned to one of the two treatments, administered in the university's Macintosh computer lab. Participants completed a demographic survey, CBI program, posttest, retention test (one week later), and affective questionnaire. The combined data from the instruments and from audit trails of participant interactions provided useful quantitative and qualitative information for formative evaluation of both versions of Coping Skills.
Both MGUI and NGUI participants achieved relatively high levels of recall and retention, with no significant differences in scores between groups for either the posttest or retention test. Analyses of participant opinions, actions, and time-to-completion identified specific strengths and weaknesses in both programs. The document concludes by interpreting findings in terms of possible adaptations to the interfaces of both versions, considering ways to explore alternative hypotheses, and identifying directions for future research.
Berkley, J.S. A comparison of metaphorical and non-metaphorical graphical user interfaces for delivering a computer-based instructional program on stress and stress management. Ph.D. thesis, Lehigh University.
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