Error-information in tutorial documentation: Supporting users' errors to facilitate initial skill learning

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Lazonder, Ard W. and Meij van der, Hans (1995) Error-information in tutorial documentation: Supporting users' errors to facilitate initial skill learning. International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, 42 (2). pp. 185-206. ISSN 1071-5819

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Abstract:Novice users make many errors when they first try to learn how to work with a computer program like a spreadsheet or wordprocessor. No matter how user-friendly the software or the training manual, errors can and will occur. The current view on errors is that they can be helpful or disruptive, depending on the extent to which they are controlled in the learning process. This study examines one of the ways in which such error control can be brought about, namely by investigating the design and role of error-information in a (tutorial) manual. The error-information was designed to support the detection, diagnosis and correction of errors of novice users, and it was based on a general model of error-handling. In an experiment a manual that contained ample error-information was compared to a manual in which there was hardly any error-information. The outcomes showed that the presence of the error-information in the manual helped subjects perform better during practice as well as after practice. Among others, these subjects completed training faster and showed superior corrective knowledge and skill after practice, in addition to having acquired the same level of constructive skill. The discussion addresses the compensating roles of support for error-handling on screen and on paper.
Item Type:Article
Copyright:© 1995 Elsevier Science
Faculty:
Behavioural Sciences (BS)
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Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/publications/26711
Official URL:http://dx.doi.org/10.1006/ijhc.1995.1009
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