Title page for ETD etd-05302006-150923

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Fabian, Alain
Author's Email Address alfabian@vt.edu
URN etd-05302006-150923
Title Creating an Interactive Learning Environment with Reusable HCI Knowledge
Degree Master of Science
Department Computer Science
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
McCrickard, Donald Scott Committee Chair
Kavanaugh, Andrea L. Committee Member
North, Christopher L. Committee Member
  • human-computer interaction
  • notification systems
  • claims
  • interruption
  • reuse
  • design knowledge
  • interactive learning environment
  • information gathering
Date of Defense 2006-05-25
Availability unrestricted
This thesis proposes creating an interactive learning environment for Human Computer Interaction (HCI) to facilitate access to, and learning of, important design knowledge. By encapsulating HCI knowledge into reusable claims stored in a knowledge repository, or claims library, this learning environment aims at allowing students to effectively explore design features to limit their reliance on intuition to mold their interfaces, help them address proper design concerns, and evaluate alternatives for their designs. This learning approach is based on active learning where students create their own knowledge by gathering information. However, building adequate development records from which students can gather HCI knowledge is critical to support this approach. This thesis explores using effective reusable design components to act as design records to create an interactive learning environment for students learning HCI design.

An initial prototype for the learning environment introduces claims as an encapsulation mechanism for design features from which students can gather HCI knowledge. Pilot testing outlines the accessibility, applicability and reusability problems associated with this approach. To solve theses issues, a taxonomic organization of an improved form of claims (reference claims), is introduced to share core design knowledge among students. A taxonomy is designed as a way to expose students to important design concerns as well as a method to categorize claims. Reference claims are introduced as improved claims inspired by reference tasks to expose students to design alternatives for design concerns. A detailed taxonomy and a set of reference claims for the domain of notification systems demonstrate how existing theories of design can be translated into reference claims to create an interactive learning environment. An experiment illustrates the applicability and reusability of reference claims for various designs within a particular domain. Finally, an evaluation assesses the benefits of this learning environment based on reference claims in terms of improving student designs and increasing the amount of HCI knowledge they reuse. Results show that by exposing students to valuable concerns and alternatives for the design of interactive systems, an interactive learning environment based on reference claims can improve students’ understanding of the design scope and lead to an increased use of existing HCI knowledge in their designs.

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