Multimodal E-learning: An empirical study




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De Montfort University


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Peer reviewed


This empirical work aims to investigate the impact of using multimodal communication metaphors on e-learning systems’ usability, overall user experience and affective state. The study proposed a triple evaluation approach to avoid the problem of conventional assessment relying only on usability measurements of efficiency, effectiveness and user satisfactions. Usability in that sense refers only to the functionality and pragmatic side of the product and neglects other aspects of the system. Learning is a cognitive and repetitive task, requiring learners’ attention as well as their interest. Therefore, when delivering content, in addition to the pragmatic functionality, an e-learning system should provide a constructive overall user experience and positive affective state. Doing so will ensure user engagement, facilitate the learning process and increase learners’ performance. The impact of using five different communication metaphors was evaluated in three dimensions using the proposed approach. Within the usability dimension, the evaluation criteria involved measuring system efficiency, effectiveness, user satisfaction and learning performance. Within the user experience dimension, the evaluation criteria involved measuring pragmatic aspects of the user experience, the hedonic aspects of user experience in terms of stimulation as well as identification and the overall system attractiveness. Within the affective state dimension a self-assessments manikin technique was used in conjunction with biofeedback measurements, and users’ valence, arousal and dominance were measured. The study found that system attractiveness and the hedonic user experience had a profound impact on users’ learning performance and attitude toward the tested system. Furthermore, they influenced users’ views and judgement of the system and its usability. The communication metaphors were not equal in their influence within the evaluation criteria. Empirically derived guidelines were produced for the use and integration of these metaphors in e-learning systems. The outcome of the study highlights the need to use the triple evaluation approach in the assessment of e-learning interfaces prior to their release for better adoption and acceptance by end users.



Multimodal interaction, communication metaphors, e-learning, Usability, user experience, user affective state



Research Institute