Usability issues and support needs: What is important to Ghanaian learners?

John Kwame Boateng

Abstract


This study explored usability issues and support needs in respect of e-learning that are important to adult learners in the Central Region of Ghana. One hundred and fifty adult learners were randomly selected from approximately 600 adult learners who had previously completed at least one online course. Respondents came from two districts that were purposively selected from among 21 districts in the Central Region. The respondents completed a paper-based questionnaire from June to August 2014. Respondents were adults aged 25 years and above studying and working in the Central Region. The research instrument used a five-point Likert scale for responses ranging from strongly disagree

(1)    to strongly agree (5). Respondents reported that learnability was a major usability concern (mean = 4.3). The next major concern for learners was finding and retrieving content and resources for effective e-learning (mean = 4.2). This was followed by the concern that the e-learning interface be usable by a variety of people with different access issues (mean = 4.1). On usability needs for e-learning, adult learners expressed the need for mastering technology required for e-learning (mean = 4.5). Learners also expressed the need for activities to be more entertaining and engaging (mean = 4.3) and to use real-world conventions and scenarios in order to make the systems more usable (mean = 4.3). Adult learners expressed the need for consistency in the treatment of graphical assets, navigation and feedback within the e-learning interface (mean = 4.2) and that the e-learning interface be simple and intuitive (mean = 4.1), among others.

Keywords: usability; e-learning; adult learners; learnability; mastering technology

 

Résumé

Cette étude porte sur les problèmes d’utilisabilité et les besoins de soutien en matière d’e-learning qui intéressent les apprenants adultes dans la région centrale du Ghana. Cent cinquante (150) apprenants adultes ont été sélectionnés au hasard parmi environ six cents (600) apprenants adultes qui avaient déjà terminé au moins un cours en ligne. Les répondants venaient de deux districts qui avaient été choisis à dessein parmi 21 districts de la région centrale. Les répondants qui avaient rempli un questionnaire écrit de juin à août 2014 étaient des adultes âgés de vingt-cinq ans et plus ; ils étudiaient et travaillaient dans la région centrale du Ghana. L’échelle de Likert en cinq points est l’instrument de recherche utilisé pour les réponses allant de « Pas du tout d’accord » (1) à « Tout à fait d’accord » (5). Les répondants ont indiqué que la facilité d’apprentissage était une préoccupation majeure en matière d’utilisation (moyenne = 4,3). L’autre grande préoccupation des apprenants était de trouver et de récupérer des contenus et des ressources pour un e-learning efficace (moyenne = 4,2). Il y a eu ensuite le fait que l’interface e-learning soit utilisable par diverses personnes ayant différents problèmes d’accès (moyenne = 4,1). Pour ce qui est des besoins de facilité d’utilisation en matière d’e-learning, les apprenants adultes ont fait part de la nécessité d’une maîtrise de la technologie requise (moyenne = 4,5). Ils ont également souhaité que les activités soient plus divertissantes et plus prenantes (moyenne = 4,3) et utilisent des conventions et des scénarios du monde réel pour rendre les systèmes plus faciles d’utilisation (moyenne = 4,3). Les apprenants ont, en outre, évoqué le besoin d’une plus grande cohérence en matière de traitement des ressources graphiques, de navigation et de rétroaction dans l’interface e-learning (moyenne = 4,2) et indiqué que l’interface e-learning doit être simple et intuitive (moyenne = 4,1), entre autres.

Mots clés : utilisabilité, e-learning, apprenants adultes, facilité d’apprentissage, maitrise de    la technologie

 

Resumo

Este estudo explorou a usabilidade e as necessidades de apoio para e-learning, que são importantes para os estudantes na Região Central do Gana. Cento e cinquenta estudantes adultos foram abordados aleatoriamente entre seiscentos estudantes adultos que concluíram anteriormente pelo menos um curso on- line. Os inquiridos vieram de dois distritos que foram seleccionados propositadamente entre 21 distritos na Região Central. Os inquiridos preencheram um questionário em papel de Junho a Agosto de 2014. Os inquiridos eram adultos de pelo menos vinte e cinco anos, a estudar e a trabalhar na Região Central do Gana. O instrumento de pesquisa utilizado foi a escala de cinco pontos de Likert para respostas que vão de, discordo fortemente (1) a concordo plenamente (5). Os inquiridos responderam que o que pode ser aprendido, era a principal preocupação em termos de usabilidade (média = 4,3). A segunda maior preocupação dos estudantes era encontrar e recuperar o conteúdo e os recursos para um e-learning eficaz (média = 4,2). A isto seguiu-se a preocupação de que a interface de e-learning fosse utilizável por várias pessoas com diferentes problemas de acesso (média = 4,1). Quanto às necessidades de usabilidade para e-learning, os estudantes adultos exprimiram a necessidade de dominar a tecnologia necessária para e-learning (média = 4,5); os estudantes também gostariam que as actividades fossem mais divertidas e atraentes (média = 4,3) e usassem convenções e cenários do mundo real para tornar os sistemas mais utilizáveis (média = 4,3). Os estudantes adultos disseram que devia haver coerência no tratamento de activos gráficos, navegação e feedback dentro da interface de e-learning (média = 4,2) e que a interface de e-learning devia ser simples e intuitiva (média = 4,1), entre outras coisas.

Palavras-chave: usabilidade, e-learning, estudantes adultos, o que se pode aprender, dominar   a tecnologia


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