Usability Assessment of Educational Software by Students: Case of Opón-ÌMo? in Osun State, Nigeria

By Tijani, O. K. | International Journal of Education and Development using Information and Communication Technology, January 1, 2016 | Go to article overview

Usability Assessment of Educational Software by Students: Case of Opón-ÌMo? in Osun State, Nigeria


Tijani, O. K., International Journal of Education and Development using Information and Communication Technology


INTRODUCTION

Education is no longer restricted within the four walls of a regular classroom setting in many countries of the world. The noticeable advancements had even called for the redefinition of formal education in some instances. Access to formal education has continued to grow for interested persons and teachers roles are being redefined continually from being the sage at the centre of instructional system to the-guide-by the-side. Students at different levels are also able to learn more facts in less time due to the embrace of technology by education (Iyeke, 2011).

Researchers at various times have investigated the efficacy of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in teaching and learning situations and have reported its positive impact when appropriately used. While authors such as Yusuf (1997), Egunjobi (2003), Ibode (2004), AduwaOgiegbaen and Iyamu (2005), Tijani (2009), Adeyemo (2010) and Omiola (2011) reported that ICT facilitates improved students' achievements across various subjects at the secondary school levels, others such Krubu and Osawaru (2011), Palmén (2011), Adebayo (2012), and Zambuk and Ya'uGital (2012) submitted that ICT facilitates effective and efficient educational administrative processes.

ICT as a concept has been explained by several authors in different lights; Zuochen and Dragana (2008), Ajayi and Ekundayo (2009), Adeyemo (2010), Adomi and Kpangban (2010) and Iyeke (2011) all agreed that ICT is a convergence of modern technological products (software and hardware) that can be used to collect, store, process and transfer information from one point to the other. Deductively therefore, ICT can be defined as all modern technological products (software and hardware) that can be used to access, collect, gather, store, process and transmit learning contents from one point to the other by learners and teachers.

The development in the educational software sector cannot be divorced from the initial gains of ICT among people of all ages (Vannucci & Colla, 2010). Evolutionarily, educational software was designed by the US military to enhance personnel performances and was limited to user-software interaction in a text, less graphical way. According to Vannucci and Colla (2010), not until the 1960s that other civil institutions including universities began to embrace computer software for educational purposes. Educational software (ES) can be described as all software that can be used by teachers and students to support teaching-learning activities (National Centre for Technology in Education, 2007). There are five major types of ES: Tutorials software that are usually designed to introduce learners to new concepts in a step-by-step manner; Drill-andpractice software which primarily aims to help students re-learn facts; Games software encourage users to follow established rules with the aim of accumulating entertainment value; Simulation software afford users to experience live situations that are difficult, expensive and dangerous; and Problem-solving software presents problematic situations to the students expecting them to apply their cognitive skills to solving the problems (Cennamo, Ross & Ertmer, 2010).

The acceptance of ES is gradually gaining momentum worldwide, however not much educational gains can be recorded if usability components of such software are neglected (Jeffel, 2011; Ali, 2013; Brook, 2013). According to Zaharias (2004), Tsai (2006) and Luckin, Bligh, Manches, Ainsworth, Crook and Noss (2012), usability is a key quality assurance of e-learning materials and ensures that users' needs remain cardinal in technological developments. Any software or applications which fail usability evaluation may record low patronage from potential users (Minovic, Stavijanin, Milovanovic & Starcevic, 2009; Imtian, Chang & Issa, 2013). Usability as a concept has to do with users' experiences at the end of interaction with software or technological products (Usabilityfirst, 2013; Usability. …

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