Edited by Dr Elspeth McKay, Postdoctoral Research Fellow (e-learning), RMIT School of Business IT.
The sponsorship of the RMIT Foundation and Macromedia, Inc. has enabled a unique dissemination of knowledge and expert practice on courseware design. This conference forum combines the training and education sectors to reveal an interesting mix of opinions. A central theme that unfolds is the awareness to capture the efficiencies of human-computer interaction (HCI) to enhance learning outcomes and thereby corporate performance. During the past five years there has been an enormous shift by industry trainers towards implementing technological solutions to develop computer literacy amongst the corporate rank and file. The most noticeable has been the tendency towards finding ways to engage learners in web-mediated instructional systems. The education sector has also undergone similar re-planning exercises, by installing a number of online courseware environments.
Currently there is much disquiet. Because of the dramatic effect that technology has had in the last decade, educationalists and corporate trainers alike are facing nothing short of a revolution. Our HCI has been altered by bigger and faster machinery to such extent that keeping pace has become one of the most urgent tasks for instructional designers. Because we can now interact with multiple types of media: video, live images, text, sound and graphics; the range of knowledge and technical expertise required by courseware designers are on the exponential rise.
Instead of making life easier, technological solutions offer an unbalanced approach to training and education. HCI is complex, involving many disciplines: computer science, psychology, sociology, anthropology and industrial design . Because of this finding the correct balance will take time. This conference forum attempts to open up the debate whereby we can hear what is taking place, in both corporate training and within the Universities.
To begin this process we have invited a range of presenters from the larger corporate web-mediated trainers to the smaller companies to highlight how differently they approach their courseware design; while the educational researchers were chosen to reflect how much work is being done behind the scenes to bring about a learner centred approach to courseware design.
To orient the reader these proceedings present an overview of the reviewed papers offering short biographical detail alongside each abstract. Professor Bagley’s Keynote Address sets the pace and tone for the conference. Next are the papers submitted by the invited presenters; in this section we see the divergent nature of opinion amongst corporate best practice, and academia. While in the refereed paper section the authors reveal how they are drilling into various aspects of the HCI phenomenon. Then finally we include two White Papers from Macromedia, Inc. to demonstrate the tools this company can offer to support user-friendly approaches towards custom built instructional courseware.
 Preece, J. (1994) Human-computer interaction. Harlow, England: Addison-Wesley. 775.
Note: All refereed papers in these proceedings underwent blind peer review and comply with DEST Higher Education Data Collection Specifications, section 4.7 Conference Publications.
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