Project Description

"This blog is updated by the JISC funded G3 Project (#jisc3g) team. We are building an framework for teaching and communicating relevant geographic concepts and data to learners from outside the world of geography and GIS. We think this blog will be of particular interest to those working or teaching in HE and FE and those interested in teaching and learning and e-learning."

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Monday, 12 September 2011

IIGLU - how usable will it be?

By now if you have been following the blog you will know that the team are interested in the usability of geospatial technology and that we are developing an e-learning environment for teaching and supporting the learning of geospatial concepts. Hence, the blog post an IIGLU is born. IIGLU is the name of our tool and stands for Interactive, Integrated, Geospatial, Learning and Understanding. We like the name IIGLU because in its other sense an igloo is a construction that uses building blocks to slowly build up and develop - rather like the teaching geospatial concepts where complex ideas are broken down into smaller parts. IIGLU has two components one where teachers can record their tutorials and one where the students access the tutorials and play them back.

In a previous blog post I discussed the Child of 10 usability standard. The idea behind which is that a child of 10 can do something in 10 minutes. We have considered this standard throughout the development of the IIGLU application. What you see in the sneeky preview is prior to the CSS and the interface design scripting. Patrick, our developer is working on this as we speak.

For students using IIGLU it will be straightforward and intuitive to use without requiring any help documentation or instructions. Students should be able to log in, select a scenario or geographic concept and then work their way through the tutorial steps using a simple next or back button. Simplicity is the underlying premise. We have placed priority on the user friendly development of this component.

We have also given priority to the geospatial concepts and knowledge building process and not to the complex interactions with the map. Therefore, 3 types of multimedia are currently supported: HTML, Map, and You Tube Video. So there is this great video from the TV series West Wing all about the distortions that result from map projections: it is the perfect way to introduce new learners to map projections (see previous post on reflections of teaching map projections). The e-learning environment will enable complex geospatial concepts to be presented without the frustrating interactions required with learning with a desktop GIS.


  1. Hi Kate,

    As I said this afternoon about Potlatch 2, maybe a game framework would work here too? Build some type of scoring system in and allow them to make ever more complex maps as they advance?


  2. "intuitive to use without requiring any help documentation or instructions" is that also going to be the case for teachers setting up the scenarios, or will you make documentation for them?
    There were some actions that you had to know about, like clicking text to edit it or dragging boxes around. Adding pen/hand icons to those items might help. But I could see it was a pre-UI system so I don't point it out. Thanks for showing us a working demo.

    It would be good to point out to teacher-users that the HTML type of multimedia is more than just text. You can add images and links etc.

  3. Greg - this is a good question and I have probably been too general in my statement. We have focused efforts on usability of the student tool and initially Claire, Patrick and I will support and administer the teaching tool. We also will do a screen cast video that teachers can watch to introduce the functionality.