April 11-14, 2007
San Francisco, California

Sessions: Abstract

Bringing User Testing into the Classroom: The Moving Here in-class evaluation programme   go to paper

Nadia Arbach, National Archives, United Kingdom
Martin Bazley, ICT4Learning, United Kingdom
Nicky Boyd, Nicky Boyd Consulting, United Kingdom

A user testing session for an on-line resource typically involves a user being observed (and possibly recorded) in a closed environment, guided by a tester through pre-set questions and assigned actions. The surroundings are not those in which users might normally use the Web site: this user is working alone. So what happens when a testing session is carried out in a classroom with a large number of people? Taking user testing into the user environment rather than bringing the user into closed surroundings allows spatial, emotional, and social issues to influence the way the Web site is used – and although the results may be more difficult to quantify, they may prove much more useful in our understanding of how the site will ultimately be used by its audiences. This paper examines user testing of on-line resources in a classroom setting, using as a case study the schools’ e-learning resources developed for the Moving Here site ( The Moving Here Schools evaluation programme involved teachers giving feedback about the site in various development stages and then participating with their students in a classroom testing stage. In classroom testing sessions, a team of evaluation consultants observed classes working through the site with their teacher and found that this type of testing was more effective in highlighting changes that should be made to the site. The paper will consider the expectations, challenges and opportunities associated with ‘habitat testing’ and suggest how museums can make this type of evaluation programme work in schools.

Session: Evaluation I [Users]

Keywords: e-learning, online learning, schools, research methods, evaluation, user testing