In this article the effectivity of prototypes of interactive learning environments (ILE) is investigated. These computer-based environments are used for independent learning. In the learning materials, represented in the prototypes, a clear distinction is made between the basic content and embedded support devices (ESDs) that are expected to support learning. The prototypes differ in relation to the extent they support interactivity in manipulating the ESDs and the degree of discernability of the ESDs. In a large empirical research set-up ILE are compared with learning environments that are based on printed learning materials and a control situation with face-to-face lectures. The results indicate the effectivity of the ILE, when taking into account the significant impact of individual differences between students on study outcome. The interaction results show that discernability of ESDs is favourable for some students. For other students, however, discernability affects the learning outcome in a negative way.
- distance education
- embedded support devices