Usability Issues in Online Courses; User Tests of Web Course Tools

Gündoğan M. B.

2nd International Open and Distance Learning (IODL) Symposium, Eskişehir, Turkey, 13 - 15 September 2006, pp.105-119

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Full Text
  • City: Eskişehir
  • Country: Turkey
  • Page Numbers: pp.105-119
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


In online learning, the learner is responsible for his or her own learning process in a virtual environment. Before learning can take place, the design of the virtual environment is important since the user may face troubles in understanding the interface. Alongside with content development and media selection, usability issues also need to be considered and user tests provide beneficial feedback at the design and development stages.This study aims to draw attention to usability in online learning environments by examining two different web course tools used by two State Universities in Turkey. User tests were conducted to observe usability from the learner’s perspective. Tasks selected cover the common features of both tools; lecture notes, announcements, chat and e-mail. Users, volunteer undergraduate students, from both universities had no experience in online course tools but were computer literate. All users worked with both tools. Usability was observed in terms of effectiveness and efficiency. User satisfaction and learnability were not included. In Turkey, many institutions offer online learning programs but the usability evaluation is a very new concept. This study aims to draw attention to this subject and underline the importance of usability in the development of online learning programs.