Human Computer Interaction and Web-Based Learning Platforms: e-Learning Website Features vis-à-vis Student Perception
The utilisation of web-based e-learning platforms is increasing throughout the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The majority of these platforms were developed initially by institutions in the West; only later were menus and icons translated into Arabic to assist Arabic-speaking students. Users have observed that during the development, adaptation, and implementation (adoption) stages, insufficient attention was directed toward usability. Within the industry it is common practice to apply Nielsen’ heuristics, as a measure of usability, to designs intended for business or commercial uses, these heuristics are considered a standard measure. This study focuses on the application of Nielsen’s heuristics to web based learning platforms to evaluate usability. The aim is to understand and evaluate the usability of these applications from the perspective of students and to compare and contrast these with the findings of a Heuristic evaluation of these platforms by groups of professionals. The study includes the development of a usability guideline framework and an extensive set of criteria to be applied to evaluate web based learning platforms (WBLP). The analysis of the data collected and applying the heuristic evaluation of experts demonstrate that a high correspondence with previous sources. The research concludes that a heuristic evaluation, based on Nielsen’s model, is an effective, appropriate and sufficient usability evaluation method, as well as a relatively easy tool. It also identified a high percentage of usability problems in the target WBLP, Arabic version of Blackboard, which contributes to part of research conclusions.
- PhD