paper 03E-SIW-011

e-Learning Environments for Simulation on the World Wide Web based on the concept of parallelism

(has been accepted and is tentatively scheduled for presentation)

Name: Dr. Rik Min.
Organization: Centre for Telematics and Information Technology (CTIT)
Address: PO Box 217, 7500 AE Enschede NL.


A student today no longer spends his time in a lonely little attic room, a noisy lecture room or the deadly silence in the huge reading room of a university library. These components of his working-, doing-, or learning environment still exist, but their functionality has changed. Most of the students in the Netherlands and at our university, the University of Twente (UT), have an excellent connection with the electronic highway on the campus or at home. The World Wide Web is extremely popular, both among professors and students.

At our university we do a lot of research on designing higher order e-learning environments with problem solving skills and modern multimedia coaching techniques, and mostly we combine this research with our own courses and our own student in courses about courseware engineering. The courseware we study is - what we called - higher order courseware in open and distance learning environments (ODL). We combine our design-courses with our research & development-projects. My collegues and my (master) students do research to modern, multimedial learning environments based on special designed simulations and a new design-theory: the 'Parallel Instruction' theory, the PI theory, for web-based simulations and solving problems with instructions on small PC screens. One of our project is now a part of the Minerva-project of the EU, the open and distance learning environment-project, the ODL/ICT-project, in combination with partners from Eindhoven, Holland, the UK and Italy.

For our study, as described in the paper, we designed a complex web-site with five different designed learning environments for our test-bed, in which the empirical study was done with 20 students (users). After a consideration of the purpose of the experiment, the five types of tasks - with the simulation applets and the problem - were developed. The five basic designs of the web pages and the instruction were based on our hypotheses. In line of our overall hypothese, the prototype with the biggest web-page (big surface) and a vertical scrollbar, was the best design for this special task.

This lecture and the paper will discuss our products, our recent research and our hypotheses about the cognitive load in our prototypes designed in conformance with we have learnt from our theories.


Yu, T., J. Moonen and R. Min (2002). Empirical study to Cognitive Load and the PI theory with well-designed products for procedure skills and parallel instructions. Master Thesis, University of Twente. Enschede. Online available on internet:

Claessens, F.M.M., J. Moonen and R. Min (2000). The effect of different ICT-designs on learning specific tasks. First year report of PhD Study, Faculty of Educational Science and Technology (EDTE), University of Twente, Enschede. Online available on internet:

Enschede; Rik Min; CTIT; jan., 8, 2003.