Can creating navigation aids benefit learning with electronic texts?

Ursula Armitage (Centre for HCI Design, City University, Northampton Square, London ECIV OHB, UK)
Stephanie Wilson (Centre for HCI Design, City University, Northampton Square, London ECIV OHB, UK)
Helen Sharp (The Open University, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA, UK (Visiting fellow at City University))

Interactive Technology and Smart Education

ISSN: 1741-5659

Publication date: 31 May 2004


Electronic texts are an essential component of any e‐learning environment. This paper extends previous research on navigation and learning with electronic texts by examining the effects of a novel approach to navigation: allowing the learner to create their own navigation aids. We present two experimental studies investigating the effects of creating versus using A‐Z indexes and graphical maps on knowledge development and feelings of ownership for learning. Findings revealed that using a graphical map for navigation has advantages for knowledge development and for feelings of ownership, whereas creating a graphical map offers no significant benefits over plain hypertext; there were no benefits to using or creating A‐Z indexes over plain hypertext. It was also found in comparisons of using vs. creating graphical maps that high feelings of ownership were correlated with higher quality knowledge development. These findings have three major implications for designers of e‐learning environments: including graphical map navigation aids should be considered; designers should not assume that allowing learners to create their own navigation aids will improve learning; feelings of ownership for learning should be encouraged in learners.



Armitage, U., Wilson, S. and Sharp, H. (2004), "Can creating navigation aids benefit learning with electronic texts?", Interactive Technology and Smart Education, Vol. 1 No. 2, pp. 75-90.

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Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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