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Hypermedia Design as Learner Scaffolding

Educational Technology Research and Development Volume 56, Number 1, ISSN 1042-1629


A number of available resources offer guidance about hypermedia design strategies, many of which rely on principles of user-centered design. Many recent efforts, however, have focused more on developing "learner-centered" hypermedia. Learner-centered hypermedia is designed to help learners achieve their educational goals, rather than offer mere usability. Unfortunately, this endeavor is hamstrung by a lack of empirical research on the topic. Research conducted in my laboratory and others has provided some insight, however. It is now understood that several system and user characteristics influence outcomes of hypermedia-assisted learning (HAL). Among the most relevant factors are learners' levels of metacognition and prior knowledge, and the interaction between these factors and hypermedia structure. By capitalizing on this research, it is possible to create hypermedia that scaffolds learners in their quest to build knowledge and understanding. The present article draws from empirical findings to suggest hypermedia design strategies aimed at scaffolding learners engaged in HAL. These guidelines target learners' knowledge and metacognitive ability to structure hypermedia that maximizes learning potential.


Shapiro, A.M. (2008). Hypermedia Design as Learner Scaffolding. Educational Technology Research and Development, 56(1), 29-44. Retrieved January 26, 2020 from .

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