First thing to say about the paper is that I found it great that this kind of work is going on. Second thing to say is that the study was quite limited in that it addressed only a vanilla Moodle instance (how many production moodles out there use the vanilla styling?) and the sample was tiny - 10 people. In assessing something as complex and with as much variance as a LMS the sample size would have to be a multiple of this sample size before we would be able to derive any interesting conclusions. Anyway here is some of the key findings:
- How do students navigate - many participants uses the breadcrumbs and the "my courses" block, but the majority are still going for the trusty browser back button.
- How do I logout - A lot of participants had difficulty finding the logout button initially - surprising because its in a pretty standard position - top left. The author equates this difficulty to the fact that the user's name (which links to the profile page) is beside the logout button.
- Confusion over the hide functionality - the study found that there is a lot of confusion with new users with regard to the hide topic/week functionality. This is presented as a white box to the user. I have to agree with the authors here. The presentation of this functionality is poor. A lot of people thought the box was for checking off when a topic is done. Well thats kind of what the white box infers. I think we need to rethink this icon.
The paper was a nice light read - I look forward to the next installment with a much larger sample size and some statistical analysis - please!