ABSTRACT Piyanaat Taksaphan COGNITIVE CONSTRAINTS ON USING COLLABORATIVE LEARNING PORTALS: INVESTIGATING THEIR EFFECTS IN ONCOURSE CL Collaborative learning portals help teachers and students attain educational objectives (Ursula et al., 1997). They also reduce repeated requests for the same information (Forbes-Pitt, 2002). An effective collaborative learning portal should promote a collaborative learning environment. It is essential to ensure the usability of learning portals. Most researchers of interface usability conduct laboratory experiments. Sellen and Norman (1992) pointed out that a laboratory environment is the least likely place to see spontaneous errors. This study investigated students using a collaborative learning portal under cognitive load. User performance with cognitive load was found to be more highly correlated with user subjective ratings of disorientation than was user performance without cognitive load. Three error patterns were observed, particularly in the cognitiveload condition. These findings indicate the importance of using cognitive load to simulate a user’s level of distraction when conducting a usability evaluation. Finally, this study proposed revising the Novice-Expert Ratio Method (NEM)
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