Shield, L. and Kukulska-Hulme, A.
Are Language learning websites special? Towards a research agenda for discipline-specific usability.
Journal of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia, 15(3)
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With the intention of defining an initial research agenda for discipline-specific factors in the usability of e-learning websites, this paper focuses on the example of foreign language learning. First, general notions and concepts of usability are analyzed, and the term 'pedagogical usability' is proposed as a means of focusing on the close relationship between usability and pedagogical design. Then, to address the key issue of whether there are aspects of pedagogical usability that are discipline-specific, the paper examines how language learning and teaching, in particular Technology Enhanced Language Learning (TELL), has approached usability when developing technology-enhanced learning materials. Three elements of a research agenda are identified: pedagogical usability, intercultural usability and website evaluation. In conclusion, it is suggested that just as language learning websites may require a discipline-specific approach, so in other disciplines pedagogical usability may also need to be considered in relation to the specific requirements of the discipline, and that a debate around these issues is timely.
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