RA1: Neomillennial User Experience Design Strategies

Baird, D.E., & Mercedes, F. (2005). Neomillennial user experience design strategies: Utilizing social networking media to support “always on” learning styles. Journal of educational technology systems, 34(1), 5, Retrieved from http://baywood.metapress.com/link.asp?id=6wmw47l0m81q12g1

Purpose
Because today’s generation is very much “net-centric”, this paper focuses on investigating a teaching curriculum designed around the digital world and the integration of social networking, user experience design strategies and other technologies. It also explores how new social media can support these learning styles and aid in the creation of future learning communities. The authors’ overachieving goal is to help instructors and course directors find ways to use the digital world to their advantage to enhance the learning experience for students.

Methods
The researchers looked at current learning theories as well as theories that attempt to integrate technology within them. First, they examined current course designs and certain cognitive events that occur during learning. Then they refined their understanding of instructional styles before discussing other technology alternatives to delivering information to achieve the same results. How users navigate and learn through the web is observed, specifically touching on certain technologies such as RSS feeds and weblogs.

Main Findings
Because this article focused on examining previous knowledge on learning styles, many of the main findings were examples of current theories and the types of possible technologies to use. They found that certain events that occur during learning can be applied to the web. For example, to gain attention of the student, you present that data; so on the web, you would present the information on the screen. They discover how users read the web; for example, hypertext links prove to serve as one form of highlighting. Students’ perceptions of blogging and the psychology behind language and design use on the web were also found due to their research. From these findings, they suggest possible technologies.

Analysis
This subject was well researched, but in that sense, it was very much research-focused. A lot of background information was given on current learning theories, and while it transitioned well into how these theories can be integrated with social media, this claim was backed by second hand knowledge. When presenting possible technologies, much of the section was spent explaining and defining the technology, with few lines claiming how it could be used within an academic setting.

Regardless, I think that the compilation of information was very well done and reviewed. While I might not be interested in learning how technologies could be applied in this sense, the theories discussed presented great knowledge to my interest in design. Specifically, the psychology of navigation and how users read the web. These standards were what I was hoping to find in an article and is what I took away most from it.

In conclusion, great review of previous research and a decent starting point for instructors and course directors to follow in terms of integrating social media within a curriculum. I would, however, be interested in research done to see how each of these suggested options actually effect learning.

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