Merija Jirgensons


While e-learning use has sharply increased, the drop-out rate is high. This paper addresses some of the aspects that cause users to reject e-learning and not finish. It focuses on the concept of “usability”, especially pedagogical usability that is currently central to usability design. While the term is nebulous, it is identified by attributes such as learnability, efficiency and (subjective) satisfaction. Attributes can be measured and designers add new ones as the need arises. Satisfaction has become the focus of pedagogical usability experts who claim the term includes motivational and emotive factors and may be measured by psychometric testing. Currently, efforts are underway to integrate pedagogical usability into e-learning design and create attractive, flexible features that are easy to handle and available on demand. Efforts are also underway to design mobile learning that incorporates usability principles. Usability improvements have been incremental because the e-learning process is not clear to designers, but it is expected that awareness and innovations will correct this problem in the future.


Usability; Pedagogical usability; (subjective) Satisfaction; Affective Attributes (factors); holistic approach; Human Computer Interaction (HCI); Ergonomics

Full Text:



Alonso-Ríos, D., Vázquez-García, A., Mosqueira-Rey, E., Moret-Bonillo, V., (2010). Usability: A Critical Analysis and a Taxonomy. International Journal for Human Computer Interaction, 26(1), 53–74.

Ardito, C., Costabile, M.F., De Marsico, M., Lanzilotti, R., Levialdi, S., Roselli, T., Rossano, V. (2006). An Approach to Usability evaluation of e-Learning Applications. Universal Access Info. Society (Springer) (2006) 4: 270-283.

Concannon, F.A.F.;Campbell, M. (2005). What campus-based students think about the quality and benefits of e-learning. British Journal of Educational Technology 36(no. 3), 501-512

Granic, A.; Cukusic, M. (2011). Usability Testing and Expert Inspections Complemented by Educational Evaluation: A Case Study of an e-Learning Platform. Educational

Technology & Society, 14 (2), 107–123.

Griffiths, D.; Beauvoir, P.; Liber, O.; Barrett-Baxendale, M. (2009). From Reload to ReCourse: learning from IMS Learning Design implementations, Distance Education: Routledge, 30(August, no.2), 201-222.

Faiola, A. and Sorin A.M. (2010). Enhancing human-computer interaction design education: teaching affordance design for emerging mobile devices. International Journal of Technology and Design Education (2010) (Springer) 20: 239-254.

International Organization for Standardization (ISO) (1998). 9241: Software Ergonomics Requirements for office work with visual display terminal (VDT), Geneva, Switzerland

Jeng, J., (2005). “What is Usability in the Context of the Digital Library and How Can It Be Measured? Information Technology and Libraries. June, 2005, 75-99.

Koole, M., McQuilkin, Janice, L.; Mohamed, A. (2010). Mobile Learning in Distance Education: Utility or Futility? “ (2010) Journal of Distance Education 24(no. 2): 59-82.

Kukulska-Hulme, A. (2007). Mobile Usability in Educational Contexts:What have we learnt?” The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning (IRRODL), June 2007

Kukulska-Hulme, A.; Shield, L. (2004). The Keyes to Usability in e-Learning Websites. Proceedings of the Fourth International Conference of Networked Learning 2004, Lancaster, UK.

Miller, M.J. (2005). Usability in E-Learning, ASTD’s Sources for E-Learning (accessed 6 Oct. 2011)

Majumder, M.; Pramatha Nath Basu. (2010). Usability Study of Personalized Learning in Mobile Learning Environment,” International Journal of Interactive Mobile Teachnologies (iJIM) (2010) 4(3): 25-29

Nielsen, J. (2005). Ten Usability Heuristics (accessed 12 October 2011)

Nielsen, J. (1993). Usability Engineering: San Francisco: Academic Press.

Nokelainen, P. (2006). An Empirical Assessment of Pedagogical Usability Criteria for Digital Learning Material with Elementary School Students. Educational Technology and Society 9(2) 178-197.

Notess, M. (2001). Tutorial: Usability, User Experience and Learner Experience, e- Learning Magazine, No8, August 2001, 3. (accessed 6 Oct. 2011)

Paechter, M.; Maier, B. (2010). Online or face-to-face? Students' experiences and preferences in e-learning Internet and Higher Education 13 (2010) 292–297.

Panagiotis, Z.; Polymenakou, A. (2009). Developing a Usability Evaluation Method for e-Learning Applications: Beyond functional Usability. International Journal for Human Computer Interaction, 25(1), 75-98. 76.

Paternò, F.; Russino, A.; Santor C. (2007). Remote Evaluation of Mobile Applications. Lecture Notes in Computer Science (Springer) (2007): 155-168.

Reeves, Thomas, C. (1998). Evaluating what Really Matters in Computer-Based Education. (accessed 10-02-2012)

Reeves, Thomas, C.; Benson, L.; Elliott, D.; Grant, M.; Holschuh, D.; Kim B.; Kim, H.; Lauber, E.; Lob, S. (2002). Usability and Instructional Design Heuristics for e-Learning Evaluation. World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia and Telecommunications, Proceedings (14th Denver, Colorado, June 24-29, 2002 (available

from ERIC).

Sahilu Wendeson, Sahilu. Development and Usability Evaluation of Platform Independent Mobile Learning Tool,” World Academy of Science, Engineering and Technology (80): 1310-1321.

Suki, Norazah Mohd; Norbyah Mohd Suki (2011). Using mobile device for learning: from students’ perspective. US-China Education Review A 1 (2011): 33-53. (ERIC).



  • There are currently no refbacks.