What Really Makes Students Like A Web Site

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What Really Makes Students Like A Web Site

  1. 1. What really makes students like a web site? What are the implications for designers of language learning sites? Jane Hughes, Claire McAvinia, Terry King Department of Education & Professional Development University College London jane.hughes@ucl.ac.uk; c.mcavinia@ucl.ac.uk; terry.king@ucl.ac.uk
  2. 2. Overview of Presentation <ul><li>Context/background </li></ul><ul><ul><li>ATLAS project (Arousing a Taste for Languages at school) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Description of work done </li></ul><ul><li>Findings and possible implications </li></ul><ul><li>Discussion and questions </li></ul>
  3. 3. A levels and first degree take-up in MFLs in UK <ul><li>Good news or bad news? </li></ul><ul><li>A level and first degree take-up </li></ul><ul><ul><li>pre-Curriculum 2000 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Post-Curriculum 2000 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Future unclear </li></ul>
  4. 4. Research Questions, Project Aims <ul><li>ATLAS addresses decline in language study </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Focus on school students (14-19) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Research attitudes, perceptions, experiences </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Aim to motivate, create interest, enthusiasm </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Less widely taught languages = fresh start </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Web-based tasters </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Teachers develop with web designer </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Language element but not beginners’ courses </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Key points: interest, enjoyment, motivation </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Outline of Research <ul><li>Questionnaire 687 14-19 year olds, 9 schools </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Covers language learning experience, opinions, perceptions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Asked to identify a web site they liked </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Asked to give a reason for liking it </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Focus group follow-up (Year 12 and Year 10/11) </li></ul><ul><li>Analysis categorised and identified themes </li></ul><ul><li>Students and teachers gave feedback on new taster web site </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Online (students); face-to-face (teachers) </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Problems Arising <ul><li>Anticipated problems with questionnaire </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Identifying web sites: not a problem </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Joke responses: a small number </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Interpreting non-responses: for discussion </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Categorising reasons </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Some unspecific praise: “it’s good” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sometimes needed to refer to the chosen site in order to categorise the reason: “it’s interesting” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Context may have influenced responses </li></ul><ul><li>First focus group less successful than second </li></ul>
  7. 7. <ul><li>Search engines – eg. Google, Yahoo </li></ul><ul><li>Academic support sites – eg GCSE Bitesize </li></ul><ul><li>Enthusiasms – eg. music, sport, ornithology </li></ul><ul><li>Heritage – eg Armenian culture, Indian dance </li></ul><ul><li>“ Magazine” sites – eg BBC, Urban75 </li></ul><ul><li>Games – to play and download </li></ul><ul><li>Shopping – eg fashion, unusual items </li></ul><ul><li>Communication – email, chat, text msgs </li></ul>Questionnaire: range of sites
  8. 8. Reasons given for liking sites Support for study? Humour?
  9. 9. <ul><li>“ Lots of text” off-putting (unanimous) </li></ul><ul><li>It was not quantity but arrangement of text that mattered </li></ul><ul><ul><li>small blocks, clearly headlined,separated </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>students wanted to scan, not read </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ searching” the web page </li></ul></ul><ul><li>They liked lots of links </li></ul><ul><ul><li>but wanted to know, before clicking on them, what they would find </li></ul></ul><ul><li>This may explain why these two sites were nominated, despite having “lots of text” . . . </li></ul>Focus groups - more detail
  10. 10. BBC
  11. 11. Urban75
  12. 12. Appearance <ul><li>Colours and pictures </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Students are sensitive readers of these </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Eye-catching but “not too in-your-face” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Can colours be patronising? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cartoons vs photographs? Space ships and monsters? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Layout </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Simplicity and lack of clutter valued </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>One reason for liking Google more than Yahoo </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. BBC
  14. 14. Bitesize revision site
  15. 15. Dislikes <ul><li>“ Things that mess up your eyes” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>backgrounds, blinking, flashing </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Annoying sounds, or music that can not be turned off </li></ul><ul><li>Having to download helper applications </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Flash and Acrobat Reader mentioned </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ It doesn’t have to be all flash” </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. Design questions <ul><li>No gimmicks; but how to avoid ‘patronising’ design? </li></ul><ul><li>How much material in one place? How best to manage text and links? </li></ul><ul><li>Unusual subject matter a strength but could still include music, sport, fashion – how best to present this? </li></ul><ul><li>Reflecting teachers’ interests, design ideas </li></ul><ul><li>Whether/how to include a gaming aspect? </li></ul><ul><li>Would our design align us with particular sites that students liked/disliked? </li></ul>
  17. 17. ATLAS taster site - homepage
  18. 18. Russian taster – homepage
  19. 19. Danish taster - homepage
  20. 20. Russian Alphabet exercise
  21. 21. Hot Potatoes for Danish
  22. 22. Hot Potatoes for Polish
  23. 23. Initial feedback from students <ul><li>MORE of everything </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Interactions, pictures, information </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Most liked the look of the site </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Colour again was cited often </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Most liked the map but not the space round it </li></ul><ul><li>Wanted pictures of people </li></ul><ul><li>Usability enhancement needed </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Clearer menus </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>More obvious links and headings </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Possibly site map, drop-down menus </li></ul></ul>
  24. 24. Possible areas for discussion <ul><li>Web and visual literacy </li></ul><ul><ul><li>huge range and changing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How can we take account of the speed of change in this area? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What are student bringing to their reading of web pages? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Is this kind of information something that language teachers need to know? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Or is it up to technical staff or VLE designers to provide templates? </li></ul></ul>
  25. 25. Future work <ul><li>Taster site to be developed further, responding to the feedback from students and teachers </li></ul><ul><li>Pilot use in schools, November-December 2003 </li></ul><ul><li>Complete site in all partner schools, January 2004 </li></ul><ul><li>Site publicly available </li></ul>
  26. 26. Thanks to the following <ul><li>All the students who took part in the survey. </li></ul><ul><li>The school language teachers who helped with the survey and gave us feedback on the web site. </li></ul><ul><li>The UCL language teachers who developed the Taster courses. They are from the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, the Department of Scandinavian Studies and the Language Centre. </li></ul>
  27. 27. ATLAS - A Taste for Languages at School <ul><li>The ATLAS project is funded by </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The Nuffield Foundation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>CfBT Research & Development </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>UCL </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Partner Schools: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ashcombe School, Surrey </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>City and Islington College, London </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cranford Community College, Hounslow </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Elliott School, London </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Haverstock School, London </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Haydon School, Pinner </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Parliament Hill School, London </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Weald of Kent Grammar School for Girls, Kent </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>William Ellis School, London </li></ul></ul>

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