University of Twente Student Theses


Example based instructions in e-science : using principles and sub-goals to improve effectiveness and efficiency

Xu, Jiaying (2019) Example based instructions in e-science : using principles and sub-goals to improve effectiveness and efficiency.

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Abstract:Purpose: Examples are widely used in procedural instructions, especially in complex domains such as e-science in which scientific knowledge and technical information are intertwined. Example-based instructions are effective because users tend to follow the instantiated and specific procedures. Prior studies have pointed out that adding sub-goals to examples can benefit users’ task performance and efficiency because it makes sub-tasks easy to understand and memorize. Principles also have positive influences on users’ learning and transfer of knowledge as they enable users to generalize their learning outcomes. This study is designed to determine whether the general principles and specific sub-goals are effective in examples of e-science as proven by previous research in the examples of other contexts. Method: A 2*2 between-subjects experiment was conducted with presence of sub-goals and principles as independent variables, and the effect on task efficiency and effectiveness as dependent variables. Novice users of sky survey databases were selected as the target group, and 93 participants were assigned to four conditions with different versions of instructions. Each participant was asked to complete ten learning tasks and five transfer tasks. Their task performance and task efficiency were measured. Results: Users showed better performance in learning tasks and higher efficiency in transfer tasks when assisted by examples with sub-goals. No significant difference was found in transfer performance and learning efficiency between groups with and without sub-goals, nor between groups with and without principles. Conclusion: The effectiveness of sub-goal information was proven in the context of e-science databases. There is no significant effect regarding general principles when added to examples. Therefore, in documentation practices, descriptions of sub-tasks are suggested for use in examples in order to reduce complexity. More research is needed to study principles and sub-goals by improved approach and to focus on cognitive and emotional effects.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Unknown organization, Enschede, 荷兰
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:05 communication studies
Programme:Communication Studies MSc (60713)
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