IDEA: Identifying design principles in educational applets

  • Jody S. Underwood
  • Christopher Hoadley
  • Hollylynne Stohl Lee
  • Karen Hollebrands
  • Chris DiGiano
  • K. Ann Renninger


The Internet is increasingly being used as a medium for educational software in the form of miniature applications (e.g., applets) to explore concepts in a domain. One such effort in mathematics education, the Educational Software Components of Tomorrow (ESCOT) project, created 42 miniature applications each consisting of a context, a set of questions, and one or more interactive applets to help students explore a mathematical concept. They were designed by experts in interface design, educational technology, and classroom teaching. However, some applications were more successful for fostering student problem-solving than others. This article describes the method used to mine a subset (25) of these applets for design principles that describe successful learner-centered design by drawing on such data as videos of students using the software and summaries of written student work. Twenty-one design principles were identified, falling into the categories of motivation, presentation, and support for problem solving. The main purpose of this article is to operationalize a method for post hoc extraction of design principles from an existing library of educational software, although readers may also find the design principles themselves to be useful.


Preservice Teacher Design Principle Fish Farm Intended Effect Problem Context 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Association for Educational Communications and Technology 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jody S. Underwood
    • 1
  • Christopher Hoadley
    • 2
  • Hollylynne Stohl Lee
    • 3
  • Karen Hollebrands
    • 3
  • Chris DiGiano
    • 4
  • K. Ann Renninger
    • 5
  1. 1.Educational Testing ServicePrinceton
  2. 2.College of Education & School of Information Sciences and TechnologyPenn State UniversityUSA
  3. 3.Department of Mathematics EducationNorth Carolina State UniversityUSA
  4. 4.Center for Technology in LearningSRI InternationalUSA
  5. 5.Swarthmore CollegeUSA

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