Children playing and learning in an online environment: a review of previous research and an examination of six current web sites

Children playing and learning in an online environment: a review of previous research and an... Purpose – This paper aims to examine what elements in online environments promote engagement, learning and repeated visits for children aged 6‐12 years. Design/methodology/approach – An in‐depth textual analysis, exploring components such as navigation, construction of site, character choice and development, style of text, types of questioning, animation, color and other factors, of six English‐language web sites, describing themselves as “educational and fun”, was carried out against a background of literature available on web site design for children, relying particularly on media text analysis and an evaluation method produced in relation to children's motivation and web site use. Findings – The analysis of the six web sites resulted in a number of usability requirements for children's web sites, including the following: web sites should have an understanding of the community of users they serve; web sites should offer dynamic forms of learning; web sites should encourage interaction between users and site designers; web sites should offer open activities rather than closed ones; web sites should view young people as persons with rights. Research limitations/implications – Insights gained from the analysis of six web sites are hard to generalize. User behavior was not studied. Practical implications – Web designers should bear the usability requirements in mind when designing web sites for children. Originality/value – Although educational content for children on the internet is growing exponentially, the area is relatively under‐researched. This is one of the first detailed analyses of entertaining educational web sites targeting children. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Young Consumers: Insight and Ideas for Responsible Marketers Emerald Publishing

Children playing and learning in an online environment: a review of previous research and an examination of six current web sites

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2009 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
1747-3616
DOI
10.1108/17473610910940765
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – This paper aims to examine what elements in online environments promote engagement, learning and repeated visits for children aged 6‐12 years. Design/methodology/approach – An in‐depth textual analysis, exploring components such as navigation, construction of site, character choice and development, style of text, types of questioning, animation, color and other factors, of six English‐language web sites, describing themselves as “educational and fun”, was carried out against a background of literature available on web site design for children, relying particularly on media text analysis and an evaluation method produced in relation to children's motivation and web site use. Findings – The analysis of the six web sites resulted in a number of usability requirements for children's web sites, including the following: web sites should have an understanding of the community of users they serve; web sites should offer dynamic forms of learning; web sites should encourage interaction between users and site designers; web sites should offer open activities rather than closed ones; web sites should view young people as persons with rights. Research limitations/implications – Insights gained from the analysis of six web sites are hard to generalize. User behavior was not studied. Practical implications – Web designers should bear the usability requirements in mind when designing web sites for children. Originality/value – Although educational content for children on the internet is growing exponentially, the area is relatively under‐researched. This is one of the first detailed analyses of entertaining educational web sites targeting children.

Journal

Young Consumers: Insight and Ideas for Responsible MarketersEmerald Publishing

Published: Mar 13, 2009

Keywords: Internet; Worldwide web; Children (age groups); Education

References

  • Children's use of the Yahooligans! Web search engine. III. Cognitive and physical behaviors on fully self‐generated search tasks
    Bilal, D.
  • Cooperative inquiry: developing new technologies for children with children
    Druin, A.
  • Designing a digital library for young children
    Druin, A.; Bederson, B.B.; Hourcade, J.P.; Sherman, L.; Revelle, G.; Platner, M.; Weng, S.
  • What Video Games Have to Teach Us about Learning and Literacy
    Gee, J.P.
  • Children designing software for children: what can we learn?
    Kafai, Y.B.
  • Design criteria for children's web portals: the users speak out
    Large, A.; Beheshti, J.; Rahman, T.

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