Student preference for tutorial design: A usability study

Lori S. Mestre

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: This article aims to report on a usability study to assess whether students performed better after working through a screencast library tutorial or a web-based tutorial with screenshots. Design/methodology/approach: This qualitative study asked 21 students from diverse backgrounds and learning styles to take two learning style inventories prior to a usability study. The students then went through two short tutorials (a static web page tutorial with screenshots and a Camtasia screencast (video) tutorial, as well as a pre- and post-test and debriefing for each. The "think aloud" protocol was used as their movements and voices were recorded using the Camtasia software. Findings: The results of this study indicate that across all learning preferences students performed much better in recreating tasks when they used a static web page with screen shots than they did after viewing a screencasting tutorial. Practical implications: Suggestions are offered for ways to create tutorials that are effective for multiple learning styles that will fit into a student's workflow. Originality/value: Results of this study may help inform other librarians in ways to effectively design tutorials and learning objects to meet student needs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)258-276
Number of pages19
JournalReference Services Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2012


  • Diversity
  • Learning styles
  • Library instruction
  • Online learning
  • Tutorials
  • User studies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Library and Information Sciences


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