MetaLinks: Authoring and Affordances for Conceptual and Narrative Flow in Adaptive Hyperbooks

In IJAIED 13 (2): "Part II of the Special Issue on Adaptive and Intelligent Web-Based Systems "

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Abstract

MetaLinks, an authoring tool and web server for adaptive hyperbooks, is described. MetaLinks hyperbooks provide textbook-like content in a flexible manner that supports opportunistic processes of active reading and learning. Through adaptive methods a single on-line artifact can address the diverse needs of a variety of user goals and backgrounds. The system is designed to support inquiry, exploratory, or curiosity-driven learning in richly interconnected material and to ameliorate a number of usability issues that arise in such open ended learning environments. Chief among the usability issues addressed are the potential for discontinuous conceptual and narrative flow as users navigate flexibly and idiosyncratically through hyperbook content. Our goals are addressed through a number of interface features and adaptive methods including narrative smoothing, custom depth control, and thematic links. In this paper we describe the MetaLinks system, discuss a number of hyperbook design issues, and give the results of two formative evaluations of a MetaLinks Hyperbook.