Need addressed (2): There is no standard user interface for educational IT products. The lack of standardization increases the amount of time users (both teachers and students) need to spend learning how to use the interface and reduces the interoperability of hardware and software.

Challenges: There is a trade-off between standardization in interface design and the creativity that can be applied by individual software designers; it is difficult to know whether the right balance has been achieved. Nonetheless, federal requirements for universal access will become a driver toward such objectives and in principle.

Opportunities: IT companies have conducted a considerable amount of research on effective user interfaces, and the Digital National Library will help create standard user interfaces for the resources it will contain (see

ANNEX TABLE 2-7 Research for the Next Generation of IT Tools to Improve Learning

Primary change agents: Public/private sector learning technology researchers


Near Term

(1-5 years)

Mid Term

(6-10 years)

Long Term

(11-20 years)

Develop capability to measure student interest and motivation in order to personalize curriculum, instruction, and assessment so learning time is more productive.

Develop models of individual and group interest and motivation in various learning situations.

Develop IT tools sensitive to cultural, gender, and other factors.


Develop tools to measure student motivation/interest and modify instruction accordingly.

Develop IT tools that can sense a wide range of ways of knowing and showing knowledge.

Create coherent and learnable interfaces and resource directories for IT science learning applications to enable cross-supplier product use and minimize time to learn how to use IT tools.

Effective research-based best practice interface design standards for industry/suppliers are developed.

New search engines for learning applications that use intuitive natural language interfaces.

On-line training incorporated with IT tools.


Digital National Library develops platform standards for IT products.

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