To read the full version of this content please select one of the options below:

Social navigation in web lectures: a study of virtPresenter

Robert Mertens (Fraunhofer IAIS, Sankt Augustin, Germany)
Markus Ketterl (Center of Information Management and Virtual Teaching, University of Osnabrück, Osnabrück, Germany)
Peter Brusilovsky (School of Information Sciences, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA)

Interactive Technology and Smart Education

ISSN: 1741-5659

Article publication date: 7 September 2010




Social navigation is an emerging trend for navigation in hypermedia. With social navigation, users can be guided through large volumes of learning content by cues which integrate the browsing history of past users. Earlier papers have shown that social navigation is suitable for navigation not only in classic hypermedia but also in time‐based learning media like web lectures by presenting prototype implementations. The purpose of this paper is to report on user experiences with social navigation for web lectures in the classroom.


This paper presents results obtained from a two‐term classroom study with a social navigation interface for web lectures. The study comprises both log file analysis and student questionnaires. The interface used in the study implements a footprint‐based social navigation approach for time‐based continuous media such as web lectures.


The results of the user study show that social navigation cues significantly affect user lecture navigation, causing users to pay more attention to the material previously explored by other users. The users' subjective feedback on the usefulness of the social navigation cues and related navigation components was significantly positive.


Social navigation has primarily been implemented and researched in traditional text‐ and picture‐based hypermedia. This paper presents an actual user study of footprint‐based social navigation for web lectures. The results of this study are relevant to both practitioners who want to use social navigation in web lectures and researchers who want to improve and research navigation approaches for time‐based media.



Mertens, R., Ketterl, M. and Brusilovsky, P. (2010), "Social navigation in web lectures: a study of virtPresenter", Interactive Technology and Smart Education, Vol. 7 No. 3, pp. 181-196.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2010, Emerald Group Publishing Limited