Ho & Yao

Encouraging Learners to Explore Websites: Hyperlinks as Invitations

Jeffrey C. F. Ho, Hong Kong Polytechnic University
Mike Z. Yao, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


We applied a user interface (UI) design approach based on a constructivist perspective for web-based learning that conceptualizes interactions between learners and websites as conversations. Hyperlinks on the UI of a distributed interactive learning environment were treated as invitations for interaction to encourage learners’ active exploration. An experiment for examining the effects of two UI features, namely, additional cues attached to hyperlinks and indication of the website owner, was conducted on the basis of the literature on invitation designs for web surveys. Results reveal that, on a website owned by someone with a high-power status, learners explore further when additional cues are present on the UI. Such effects indirectly enhance learning outcomes.


distributed learning environment, user interface, navigation, constructivist

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