Development and Evaluation of a Web-Based E-Learning System
L. Schmidt. Innovations in E-learning, Instruction Technology, Assessment and Engineering Education, Springer, New York, (2007)
In this contribution the development of a web-based e-learning system is described and a method for evaluation is introduced, whereby the e-learning portal INTEGRAL II will be used as an exemplification. The proposed approach is based on system monitoring of user interaction by data capture in a server-log-file, and it additionally integrates external data. As such it is a user-based approach, which typically applies to prototyping or early stages of the product life-cycle. Due to its non-reactive character, the hypothesized biasing effects are supposed to be minimal. Especially server log-files are means of gathering objective, quantitative data which can not be derived by other means. Additionally the procedure is not very complex, that is, it is easy to conduct and does not take too much time to collect data. Log-files are records that are generated by the system automatically and incorporate information about access to and quitting the system, location of the user, time spent with the system and actions within the system. As illustrated in this contribution, these data can be analyzed and interpreted in seven steps. The analysis reveals specific results for the INTEGRAL II system as well as more abstract suggestions for usability testing in general. Log-file analyses in combination with other measures are powerful means of evaluating a web-based system. What information is provided by log-files? What technical framework must be considered for the interpretation? How can these implicit data be used to evaluate web-based systems? These questions are considered in detail in this contribution.