Guest lecture

Sharon Oviatt


Quiet Interfaces that Help People Think

As technical as we have become, modern computing still has not permeated many important areas of our lives, including mathematics education which involves pencil and paper. In the present study, twenty high school geometry students varying in ability from low to high participated in a comparative assessment of math problem solving using existing pencil and paper work practice (PP), compared with three different interfaces: a digital stylus and paper interface (DP), pen tablet interface (PT), and graphical tablet interface (GT). Cognitive Load Theory correctly predicted that as interfaces departed more from familiar work practice (GT > PT > DP), students would experience greater extraneous cognitive load such that performance would deteriorate in speed, attentional focus, meta-cognitive control, correctness of solutions, expressive fluency, and memory. In addition, low-performing students would experience higher cognitive load overall, such that the same interfaces would disrupt their performance disproportionately more than for high-performing students. The present results indicate that Cognitive Load Theory provides a coherent and powerful basis for predicting users' performance. In the future, new interfaces for areas like education and mobile computing could benefit from design that minimizes users' cognitive load so performance is adequately supported.

-- EmilyBender - 14 Apr 2006

Topic revision: r1 - 2006-04-14 - 03:56:24 - EmilyBender

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