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"Improving Online Course Design through Usability Testing" icon

Improving Online Course Design through Usability Testing

Usability testing has been the industry standard for assessing the usability of products for quite some time. Business and industry routinely implement usability testing to test their products. Consequently, the literature is rich in this area. Despite the tremendous growth in online learning, there is little research regarding the implementation of usability testing in academia, especially in online course development. This qualitative study investigated the effectiveness of implementing usability testing into online course development for improved course design. For the purposes of this study, usability testing refers to iterations of testing that inform changes in course design in a cyclic fashion. Data were collected during the spring 2009 semester at a major research university in the Southeast. Fourteen freshmen participants took part in the study. Participants were observed as they completed predefined tasks. Data were collected through video recordings, surveys, observer logs, and journaling. Findings indicated that usability testing may provide a model for improved online course design.


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