Advanced Distributed Learning - Memphis Intelligent Tutoring Systems Center
Usability Analysis for Learning Environments Capabilities

The Usability Analysis for Learning Environments (UALE) area in the Center has researchers who specialize in usability studies, using eye-tracking technologies and read-aloud protocols to evaluate learning environments online and offline. The primary goal of UALE is to provide services to organizations. These services include analyzing learning environments and offering recommendations for making those environments more user-friendly in order to enhance learning. Recommendations from UALE will be based on cognitive theories of learning as well as principles of HCI specifically tailored to learning. Faculty advisors of UALE are leading researchers in designing, developing and evaluating intelligent learning environments. Two main instruments used to evaluate the usability of learning environments are eye tracking technologies and read-aloud procedures.

Typical Usability Analysis Using Eye-tracking Devices 

  • A typical eye tracking usability study consists of an evaluation and a recommendation phase. The evaluation phase measures 
    • Efficiency: How much work is accomplished per unit time? 
    • Effectiveness: What is the extent to which goal is accomplished? 
    • Satisfaction: To what extent is the user satisfied in terms of usefulness, usability, comprehensibility and aesthetics? 
  • Based on the evaluation of the data in the evaluation stage, recommendations can be made for improving the learning environments. Efficiency, effectiveness and satisfaction can be measured for 
    • Screen design: eye gaze on font type, font size, colors, pictures, menus 
    • Reading: fixations explained by text difficulty, coherence of information, readability of information 
    • Cognitive workload: blinks, pupil diameter, long fixations. 


  • The UUALE currently has four high-end eye tracking devices: Two head mounted systems (ASL-501, 504), a chinrest high-speed eye tracker (SMI Hi-Speed) and a remote eye tracker (SMI RED). All four eye trackers have been extensively used in usability studies of web content and intelligent tutoring systems. Moreover, our usability lab consists of five camcorders, high-quality speech recorders and advanced software packages to conduct the highest level of usability studies and evaluate the rich data obtained from these studies.
The ADL-CITSRD is located in the FedEx Institute of Technology (FIT) on the campus of the University of Memphis. Researchers associated with the center are faculty, researchers, post-doctoral fellows, and advanced graduate students in the Institute for Intelligent Systems (IIS). The center researchers have extensive experience in research, development, and evaluation of advanced learning environments.
Research Capabilities
Cognitive studies of learning systems
Impact study of Learning Technology in Applied Settings
Development Capabilities
ITS enhancement of learning content
Service Capabilities
Usability Analysis for Learning Environments
Text Analysis Using Computational Linguistics Tools
Team Memphis Projects
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Last Updated: 5/15/15