THE EFFECTS OF INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES ON LEARNER’S NAVIGATION IN A COURSEWARE
One of the major features of a computer based instruction (CBI) is its non-linear structure allowing learners the opportunity of flexible navigation to accommodate their own needs. However, this non-linear structure may cause problems such as inefficient navigation, being lost or cognitive overhead for some learners. The aim of this study is to determine how individual differences; cognitive styles, prior knowledge and gender influence the navigation pattern in a courseware. The research has the posttest-only, equivalent-groups true experimental design. The sampling is comprised of 84 first year undergraduate students at Gazi University, enrolled in an introduction to computer course. The cognitive styles (field dependent/ field intermediate/ field independent) of the students were measured with the “Group Embedded Figure Test”. To determine the navigation pattern of the students, their stratum, compactness and revisit percentage values were computed based on their use of the courseware developed for the research. According to the findings, there is a statistically significant difference between learners’ compactness and revisitation scores based on their cognitive styles. Also, there is a significant difference in revisitation scores based on the participants’ prior knowledge.