Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Faculty of Education


Researchers report that learners find the flexibility of hypermedia learning systems both a strength and a weakness. On the one hand hypermedia learning systems allow learners to work at their own pace and allow a great deal of control of the learning paths they take. For some learners this is a blessing, but others feel overwhelmed by the large number of available options and suffer from information overload. One approach to this problem is to provide learners with an adaptive learning system that initially limits the choices they can make until they have mastered key concepts. The system analyses learner responses and once key concepts have been mastered, learners are allowed increased access to a greater range of learning materials and options. During this study a Web-based authoring tool called ART-WEB 3.9 was used to develop a prototype of an adaptive Web-based environment. The purpose of the prototype was to provide undergraduate and graduate students with a conceptual and procedural introduction to the multimedia author tool HyperStudio(superscript TM). This prototype was trialled with 2 undergraduate and 1 graduate class. Data were collected by questionnaires, interviews and tracking files of learner use. Coded data were entered into a spreadsheet and then analysed. The findings showed that the use of adaptive annotation technology as found in authoring tools like ART-WEB 3.9 supported student learning of basic conceptual and procedural knowledge about the use of the authoring tool HyperStudio(superscript TM). The data suggest that the system provided learners with a well-structured navigation system that made use of textual and visual cues to locate them in hyperspace and to provided feedback on their progress. This supports the findings of other researchers who used tools in other contexts. This study contributes to the research literature by showing that Web-based adaptive learning environments may have a role to play in supporting the development of learner conceptual and procedural knowledge when they are involved in learning a complex skill such as the use of multimedia authoring tool. The tool developed was a prototype and as such would need additional development before being put to general use. However, it did demonstrate a concept and show that such tools may be useful supports in complex, hypermedia learning environments.