There are several tools and tips to improve the ergonomics of a platform.

First of all, it’s important to choose congruent illustrations, i.e. they must have a link with the elements mentioned. Choosing a coherent picture will allow users to have a better memory and understanding of the platform. (Bransford and Johnson, 1972). In order to understand how it works (the platform), it is necessary to insert images (Mayer, R.E, Gallini, 1990).

However, it is important not to overload the platform with unnecessary information that will only add cognitive load to the user. The cognitive load corresponds to the limited capacity of our working memory. (Sweller, 1999) There are three types of load:

  • intrinsic cognitive load : concerns the complexity of performing a task
  • extraneous cognitive load : how informations is presented to us
  • germane load : the effort devoted to processing the information.

Adding unnecessary elements (texts, images) only increases the extraneous cognitive load and slows down the processing of information.

Regarding fonts, Bernard et al (2002) conducted a study in which they show that the Arial font is more easily read by both children and adults. To improve the readability of the text, it’s important to use contrasting background and font colors (Tinker and Paterson, 1929). It’s necessary to draw attention of the reader to important words by using bold, italics, underlining, or other means of differentiation (Fayol, 1992). This will create typographic hints by the user’s mind and thus improve the memorization of the platform’s content as well as its recall. (Cashen and Leicht, 1970)

All these processes will thus help to reduce the extraneous cognitive load of the user. People will be more inclined to process information. A high extraneous cognitive load requires a motivational effort.

Motivation

There are several types of motivation, but as far as the motivation of the platform users is concerned, it’s intrinsic motivation. It is defined as the action is essentially guided by the individual’s interest and pleasure in the action (here find training, get advice). The opposite of intrinsic motivation is extrinsic motivation : doing an action in order to receive a reward (working hard to get a good mark) (Deci and Ryan, 1985). Deci and Ryan (2000) subsequently improved their model by organizing motivation according to a regulation scale. The motivation of platform users would be called integrated regulation. The user assimilates the action and can then find additional motivation thanks to the comments left by other users on their pathway. The motivation provided by the platform can also improve the goal of involvement in the task (or the user’s mastery goal). The goal of involvement allows the user to boost his or her wish to learn or get new knowledge (Nicholls, 1984).