You are here:

Novice and Expert Collaboration in Educational Software Development: Evaluating Application Effectiveness Article

, , New Jersey Institute of Technology, United States

Journal of Interactive Learning Research Volume 19, Number 2, ISSN 1093-023X Publisher: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE), Waynesville, NC


In an attempt to hone the role of learners as designers, this study investigates the effectiveness of an instructional software application resulting from a design process founded on the tenets of participatory design, informant design, and contextual inquiry, as well as a set of established design heuristics. Collaboration occurred among learning systems researchers, educational technology consultants, college students studying software engineering and multimedia design, and primary school students to create a game-like software application for developing mapping skills in young urban students. A two-group pretest/posttest quasi-experimental design was conducted between two groups to measure the effectiveness of the application versus traditional classroom instruction. Descriptive, empirical results indicate that students using the software application afforded a marginal net benefit from pre- to posttest and, when tested on concepts covered by areas of the software that are conducive to fantasy, the experimental group experienced a greater benefit relative to students in a classroom setting. Results show a significant difference in four instances of the instructional software application. Generally, the collaborative, participatory design process caused a positive change in the academic climate for all stakeholders.


Friedman, R. & Saponara, A. (2008). Novice and Expert Collaboration in Educational Software Development: Evaluating Application Effectiveness. Journal of Interactive Learning Research, 19(2), 271-292. Waynesville, NC: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE). Retrieved March 18, 2018 from .



  1. Beyer, H., & Holtzblatt, K. (1998). Contextual design: Defining customer-centered systems. San Francisco: Morgan-Kaufmann.
  2. Blomberg, J., & Henderson, A. (1990). Reflections on participatory design: Lessons from the trillium experience. Proceedings of CHI’90 (pp. 353-359). New York: ACM.
  3. Druin, A. (1999). Cooperative inquiry: Developing new technologies for children with children. Proceedings of CHI’99 (pp. 592-599). New York: ACM.
  4. Druin, A. (2000). The role of children in the design of new technology. Retrieved February 26, 2008, from
  5. Druin, A., & Solomon, C. (1996). Designing multimedia environments for children: Computers, creativity and kids. New York: John Wiley & Sons.
  6. Friedman, R., Drakes, J., & Deek, F.P. (2002). The design and implementation of mapping software: Developing technology and geography skills in two different learning communities. Information Technology in Childhood Education Annual, (pp. 269-286). Chesapeake, VA: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education.
  7. Harel, I. (1991). Children designers: Interdisciplinary constructions for learning and knowing mathematics in a computer-rich school. Norwood, NJ: Ablex.
  8. Jonassen, D.H., Beissner, K., & Yacci, M.A. (1993). Structural knowledge: Techniques for conveying, assessing, and acquiring structural knowledge. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. Kafai, Y. (1995). Minds in Play: Computer Game Design as a Context for Children’s Learning. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
  9. Kafai, Y. (1999). Children as designers, testers and evaluators of educational software. In A. Druin. (Ed.), The design of children’s technology (pp. 123-145). San Francisco: Morgan Kaufman. Kafai, Y., Ching, C.C., & Marshall, S. (1997). Children as designers of educational multimedia software, 29(2-3), 117-126.
  10. Malone, T.W., & Lepper, M.R. (1987). Making learning fun: A taxonomy of intrinsic motivations for learning. In R.E. Snow & M.J. Farr, (Eds.), Aptitude, learning and instruction III: Cognitive and affective process analyses. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
  11. Mumford, E., & Henshall, D. (1983). Designing participatively: A participative approach to computer systems design. Sandbach, UK: Manchester Business School. (Original work published in 1979)
  12. Piaget, J. (1972). The psychology of the child. New York: Basic Books.
  13. Scaife, M., & Rogers, Y. (1999). Kids as informants: Telling us what we didn’t know or confirming what we knew already. In A. Druin (Ed.), The design of children’s technology (pp. 27-50). San Francisco: Morgan Kaufman.
  14. Slavin, R. (1991). Educational psychology, (3rd ed.). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall. Sobel, D. (1998). Map making with children. Portsmouth, NH: Heineman.
  15. Stoyanov, S. (1997). Cognitive mapping as a learning method in hypermedia design. Journal of Interactive Learning Research, 8(3/4), 309-324.

These references have been extracted automatically and may have some errors. If you see a mistake in the references above, please contact