Cognitive effectiveness of visual instructional design languages

Figl, Karen and Derntl, Michael and Caeiro-Rodriguez, Manuel and Botturi, Luca (2010) Cognitive effectiveness of visual instructional design languages. Journal of Visual Languages and Computing, 21 (6). pp. 359-373. ISSN 1045-926X

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Abstract

The introduction of learning technologies into education is making the design of courses and instructional materials an increasingly complex task. Instructional design languages are identified as conceptual tools for achieving more standardized and, at the same time, more creative design solutions, as well as enhancing communication and transparency in the design process. In this article we discuss differences in cognitive aspects of three visual instructional design languages (E2ML, PoEML, coUML), based on user evaluation. Cognitive aspects are of relevance for learning a design language, creating models with it, and understanding models created using it. The findings should enable language constructors to improve the usability of visual instructional design languages in the future. The paper concludes with directions with regard to how future research on visual instructional design languages could strengthen their value and enhance their actual use by educators and designers by synthesizing existing efforts into a unified modeling approach for VIDLs.

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