Evaluating engineering courseware: An example of user centred design

Irene Neilson, Terry Mayes, Iain King

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Traditionally the evaluation of computer based learning materials has focused on the effectiveness of these materials, once developed, as learning aids. This form of evaluation is known as summative evaluation. By itself, this approach to evaluation leads to a better understanding of the requirements for courseware only over a very long term timescale. Rather than evaluation being conceived as an activity that occurs towards the end of a piece of courseware's development life cycle, Interact's approach is to integrate evaluation into the process of design itself. It becomes something with which all members of a product's development team are critically involved. This is formative evaluation. The methodology by which evaluation is integrated into the Interact Courseware Development Life Cycle is presented, and its relationship to methodologies common in other design contexts (such as engineering design) is discussed. The methodology is illustrated with respect to particular problems encountered in developing software in an Engineering context. The determination of criteria for evaluation and the difficulties encountered in distinguishing the usability of a CBL program from the effectiveness of the educational content are considered. Proposals are presented for methods by which the educational value of a piece of courseware might be realistically appraised during its development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8/1-8/5
JournalIEE Colloquium (Digest)
Issue number134
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1994
EventProceedings of the IEE Colloquium on Computer-Based Learning in Engineering - London, UK
Duration: 26 May 199426 May 1994


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