Usability Testing

to Improve Online Learning Platforms

Brian E. Bennett | @bennettscience
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Online Learning

32% of college students are taking at least one online class

Allen, I. E., & Seaman, J. (2013). Changing Course: Ten Years of Tracking Online Education in the United States. Sloan Consortium. PO Box 1238, Newburyport, MA 01950.

The 21st Century Classroom

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Challenges with Online Learning

  • Technical Debt
  • Inconsistent Design
  • Buried Content

What does this mean?

Difficulty with online platforms may have an adverse affect on learning.

For more information on Cognitive Load Theory, see:

  • Ayers, P. (2006). Impact of reducing intrinsic cognitive load on learning in a mathematical domain. Applied Cognitive Psychology. 20, 287-298.
  • Paas, F., Renkl, A., & Sweller, J. (2003). Cognitive load theory and instructional design: Recent developments. Educational psychologist, 38(1), 1-4.
  • Sweller, J, Merrienboer, J, Paas, F. (1998). Cognitive architecture and instructional design. Educational Psychology Review. 10-3, 251-296.
  • Sweller, J. (1994). Cognitive load theory, learning difficulty, and instructional design. Learning and instruction, 4(4), 295-312.

How would you do?

What can we do?

Mobile Testing


Set up missions, recruit scouts to test your pages in their normal workflow.

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Browser-based testing

Open Hallway

Browser-based usability testing with remote testing capability


A/B testing built from an existing page.

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TechSmith Morae

Research-grade usability software.

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The Point

We need to know more about how students interact with online learning systems.

Brian E. Bennett

TechSmith Corp.

Web | @bennettscience

Grab this session from GitHub