IDEA: Identifying Design Principles in Educational Applets

Jody S. Underwood, Christopher Hoadley, Hollylynne Stohl Lee, Karen Hollebrands, Chris Digiano, K. Ann Renninger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)99-112
Number of pages14
JournalEducational Technology Research and Development
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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