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

Harding, Jacqueline ORCID:, Szakacs, Judit and Parry, Becky (2009) Children playing and learning in an online environment: a review of previous research and an examination of six current web sites. Young Consumers, 10 (1) . pp. 17-34. ISSN 1747-3616 [Article] (doi:10.1108/17473610910940765)


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.
Keywords Internet, Worldwide web, Children (age groups), Education Paper type Research paper

Item Type: Article
Research Areas: A. > School of Health and Education > Education
Item ID: 27579
Useful Links:
Depositing User: Jacqueline Harding
Date Deposited: 17 Sep 2019 14:21
Last Modified: 17 Sep 2019 14:21

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