Theoretical framework for authoring hypermedia for language learning

Hemard, Dominique (1998) Theoretical framework for authoring hypermedia for language learning. Doctoral thesis, London Guildhall University.


This thesis represents the culmination of work carried out as part of an ongoing research into hypermedia authoring for Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL). It originates from, and is the natural continuation of previous research activities in user interface design, which addressed the problem of transferring existing human factors expertise derived from the field of human-computer interaction (HCI) to the hypermedia CALL authoring process. Problems identified with the development of specific design guidelines for authoring hypermedia CALL led to a need for a thorough examination of the usability field with a view to creating a coherent and exhaustive theoretical framework providing a comprehensive contextual and conceptual design support. At the conceptual level, emphasis is placed on defining the design process from an HCI perspective, on delineating the authoring input and explicating the potential of the hypermedia CALL platform, in terms of specificity, scope and limitations. At the contextual level, this research presents an in-depth study of mental models and user requirements elicited and formulated by students as targeted users on the basis of a selection of relevant applications. The resulting usability field is central to the design of the theoretical framework, inasmuch as it feeds into conceptual design considerations and is instrumental in facilitating and validating a realistic transition from theory into practice. Ultimately, the theoretical framework provides a comprehensive design support encapsulating design guidelines and generating design solutions.

The main contribution made to hypermedia CALL rests on providing an extensive contextualized design support in the form of a practical and applicable framework with a sound theoretical underpinning designed to stimulate a conceptual approach to authoring hypermedia CALL environments. Therefore, it is designed to develop a much greater awareness of the design process and the role authors must play within it, as well as to provide a methodology and an approach to further identify and understand student requirements. Last but not least, it is conceived to promote and facilitate the use of design guidelines to turn a complex process into a successful, student-centred design outcome.

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