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A Methodology for Measuring Usability Evaluation Skills Using the Constructivist Theory and the Second Life Virtual World

Debra J. Slone

Journal of Usability Studies, Volume 4, Issue 4, Aug 2009, pp. 178-188

Abstract

The skills of usability analysts are crucial to software success, so mastery of these skills is essential. This study presents a methodology for teaching and measuring usability evaluation skills of graduate students using the constructivist theory, diaries, checklists, and final reports. As part of the study, students spent 4 months as active participants in Second Life, an online virtual world. In the end, most students had a manageable amount of measurable usability evaluation skills in that they could identify a number of heuristic problems with the Second Life software. A smaller number of students had a greater amount of skill; they could explain a heuristic problem with the software and then explain why it was problematic.

Practitioner’s Take Away

Both the constructivist approach to teaching and measuring usability evaluative skills using the methodology discussed in this study contributed to the following lessons learned:

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A Methodology for Measuring Usability Evaluation Skills Using the Constructivist
Theory and the Second Life Virtual World