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Why don’t we ask users to learn?

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Presentation on theme: "Why don’t we ask users to learn?"— Presentation transcript:

1 Why don’t we ask users to learn?
A Learning Sciences Perspective on HCI, and vice-versa

2 The Goals of HCI “Create usable software-enabled products and user-interfaces. Enhance the usability of existing products. Identify problems and tasks (such as in the workplace) that can be addressed with software products.” “Have the computer do what it’s good at; and leave the person to do what she’s good at.”

3 Google definitions of usability
“Usability is a generic term that refers to design features that enable something to be user-friendly.“ Ick! “Usability is defined as the extent to which a product can be used by specified users to achieve specified goals with effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction in a specified context of use.”

4 The Main Argument and The Main Challenge
People are willing to learn things that help them “achieve specified goals with effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction in a specified context of use.” That can include the computer! The Challenge: How do you limit what’s being learned to things are only in the specified context of use, even when that’s on a computer?

5 People are Learning Beings
“People are always learning. The trick of [educational interventions] is to get them to learn what you wanted them to learn.” That’s an Education perspective. An HCI perspective can reverse that How do we teach people what they want to learn? What will improve their ability to do what they want to do?

6 HCI is sometimes Anti-Learning
Learning is a conscious process. You can’t learn about something that you don’t think about. What’s worth thinking about when using a computer? I think this book is totally wrong! The issue is “Don’t make me think..about things that I don’t care about.”

7 The Computer is Worth Thinking About
Thinking about computers has helped lots of fields. A computer is a device that executes any well-defined process. That’s useful to many. The process modeling and simulation has created a whole new branch of Science. In fact, we really don’t know yet the full extent of the power of that statement.

8 What’s worth learning about the computer?
Very few users’ “context of use” includes “ls,” interrupt vectors, crontab, linked lists, or public static void main Key Question: What about the computer is within users’ “context of use,” that is worth their learning? How do we design interaction in such a way that users appreciate the computer and find helps them in their contexts?

9 Caveat! WARNING! This perspective is anti-ubiquitous computing & anti-invisible computing. This is about making the computer highly visible! But what’s visible can be made context-dependent.

10 CS1315 is designed from an HCI perspective
A 300+ students/term intro to programming Overall, CS1315 has been 51% female Required in Architecture, Management, Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts, and Biology Focus: Learning programming and CS concepts within the context of media manipulation and creation Converting images to grayscale and negatives, splicing and reversing sounds, writing programs to generate HTML, creating movies out of Web-accessed content. Computing for communications, not calculation But could be taught for CS

11 Evidence that it works Enrollment Success Rate Georgia Tech’s CS 1 (average) 930 71.2% Media Computation Spring 2003 120 90.0% Fall 2003 303 86.5% Spring 2004 395 86.9% Summer 2004 73.3% Fall 2004 366 80.3% “I just wish I had more time to play around with that and make neat effects. But JES [course development environment] will be on my computer forever, so… that’s the nice thing about this class is that you could go as deep into the homework as you wanted. So, I’d turn it in and then me and my roommate would do more after to see what we could do with it.” There may have been a Hawthorne Effect in first semesters. Consider, though, that this is “everyone on campus” vs. “just the less-technical students.”

12 Evidence That It’s Generalizable
Places adopting MediaComp: University of Illinois-Chicago University of California, Santa Barbara Gainesville College DePauw University Enrollment Success Rate Gainesville’s CSCI 1100 (average) 28 70.2% Media Computation Summer 2003 9 77.8% Fall 2003 39 84.6% Spring 2004 22 77.3% Summer 2004 11 90.9%

13 “Context of use” is not necessarily task/major-centric
Homework was not perceived as particularly relevant 39.2% - Georgia Tech 31.2% - Gainesville But majority of students at both institutions perceived skills would be useful later in life 59.9% - Georgia Tech 56.2% - Gainesville Georgia Tech students saw greater relevance of course material for career 45.5% - Georgia Tech 37.5% - Gainesville This is a PRO-EveryDay Computing stance

14 Following-up Survey: Does it have a lasting impact?
In Spring 2004, conducted an survey with students from Spring 2003 (n=120) and Fall 2003 (n=303) students. 59 responses (small!) 11 (19%) had written a Python program on their own since the class had ended. 27% had edited media that they hadn’t previously.

15 “Did the class change how you interact with computers?”
20% said no. 80% said yes, but it was also more about changing how they thought about computers. “Definitely makes me think of what is going on behind the scenes of such programs like Photoshop and Illustrator.” This is learning in the context of use. “I feel more comfortable around computers and like I could learn and understand other computer programming languages more easily.”

16 Informing the user, not making them computer scientists
“Other than making me a little more aware about what I can make the computer do, it hasn't changed the way I particular interact with technology. Yet I am uninterested in this field. However, I now have a MUCH better understanding of the people who are interested in this field, how they view things, and how to interact with them more easily. For this, I appreciate the CS class greatly.” Bold and italics added

17 Conclusion: A new set of challenges
Even command and programming languages can be useful in users’ “context of use.” Making the computer “invisible” may be stealing from the user a very powerful metaphor and “thing to think with”—within the user’s context of use! How do we design these very computer-ish things from an HCI perspective? How do change the goal of HCI to include thinking about the computer, but in a context of use?

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