Microsoft Word has been used a lot for a long period of time, but still we can hear complaints from the users, where they for instance say that they cannot find the file they know they saved. And if they take advantage of a new updated version of the software, they often feel uncomfortable and insecure of using it. There is a lack of basic understanding, and people are still getting problems in using a software in spite of attending a course for the specific software (Sein et al, 1998). Understanding is here defined as the ability to transfer learning from one program to another.
The aim of this thesis is to find out whether a course which - uses of metaphors instead of and in addition to usual computer expressions- emphasizes similarities between the programs can give the users a better understanding
In this case we first trained 13 users in MS Word and then used the knowledge from this course to teach MS Excel and MS Power Point. Observation of one pilot project and one main course including MS Word, Excel and PowerPoint at a postgraduate college in Oslo was conducted. One month after the last course we sent out a questionnaire to the participants. After the course we modified the six-level knowledge content hierarchy which was proposed by Sein et al. (1998). The modification is done based on the experience and knowledge we have attained during this project.
The course participants were able to transfer skills from Word to Excel and PowerPoint, so they developed the kind of understanding aimed at. These learning results are at a deeper level than what the European Computer Driving License (Datakortet) requires. The learning results spanned all six levels in the hierarchy of software knowledge proposed by Sein et al (1998). The fourth, conceptual level was specified as knowledge about similarities between programs. The sixth level, motivational, was found to be included in the fourth and fifth level.