Comparison of websites and mobile applications for e-learning
2017-11-14T15:09:51Z (GMT) by
Information and communication technology (ICT) applied in the field of education is diverse in nature, and it is progressing continually. Advances in the development of smart phones in terms of both software and hardware capabilities have been considerable, and have provided new opportunities for e-learning. It can be argued that a key goal of companies is to produce applications that are productive, and more importantly, user friendly in nature so that they can deliver the best user experience to their customers. This paper reports on an investigation of user preferences when using an e-learning application designed to meet the needs of e-learners. Data was collected to gather evidence of their preferences with respect to both web and mobile applications. This study is part of a large research project, which aim to investigate the potential of e-learning within higher education using multiple e-learning applications. This paper undertakes the first phase of this research project. In the first phase, two user groups with a relatively similar age group (21-30 years) were asked to experiment the use of two different interfaces: one of a mobile application and the second of a web application. Both applications include information that aim to support international students. The information provided was based on one of the universities located in the USA. The information was obtained from the international office, which included facilities available, directions, events and workshops, important contacts, etc. Feedback on the use of both mobile and web applications was gathered using semi-structured interviews. Four interviews were conducted with two participants from each of the user groups within this study. The results indicate that both background and experience of using ICT applications highly influenced how both (web and mobile) applications were perceived. The analysis show that type of information and its representation play an important role in determining its efficiency and usefulness for the user. This study draws an important insight into the future of both web and mobile applications within the higher education environment. The next phase following this study aims to examine the results gathered in this study on a wider audience. This study provides an important foundation towards support understanding potentials and limitations for both web and mobile applications.