Graduate Research and Discovery Symposium (GRADS)


What the Learners Need: Building User-Centered Models of Education

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2015


Although distance education is a rapidly growing industry, there is a "likeability" problem among both educators and students. This research argues that it is not simply the current design of online courses that frustrates those teaching and taking them, but the pedagogy behind the design. Pedagogical problems in online education are a result of changing needs of current students of higher education, and the challenge of instructors and university administration to meet and adjust to those needs. Students today want online instruction that is relevant and individualized to specific interests, passions, and professional fields. This research will take on a user experience framework, which will put the learner at the forefront of a remediation of traditional online course design. Theories from a number of figures in usability and user experience design, such as Don Norman, Jakob Nielsen, and Jesse James Garrett will be applied to current online course designs to show the pedagogical gaps that must be filled for the user.

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