Ease of Use: Thinking About High-Quality Virtual Classrooms #2

Ease of use refers to the effort participants must expand to navigate your course, see and hear the materials, and complete the work you assign. Students are more likely to learn the curriculum if the classroom is easy to use.

A related idea, which further supports the importance of easy to use classrooms, is cognitive load. Basically, cognitive load theory confirms humans have a limited capacity to “think” at any moment. Any cognitive load they expend trying to navigate and use your virtual classroom will not be available for them to think about the materials and build new knowledge.

Technology acceptance has been used for more than 30 years to study the design and use of information technology systems in various settings. It posits several factors are associated with the use of technology for professional purposes including ease of use and effectiveness are identified as factors. More specifically, the users’ perceived ease of use and effectiveness are associated with increased use of technology.

If an IT technicians find a tool easy to use, but instructors do not, then the instructors are unlikely to use it. In the same way, if students find your classroom is not easy to use, then it isn’t.

In following pages, we consider how ease of use is improved through:

  • Breaking the course into chunks
  • Using descriptive names
  • Using consistent organization and cues across chunks
  • Designing to use universal file formats and diverse devices