A study on the usability of E-books and APP in engineering courses: A case study on mechanical drawing

Min Jou*, Robert D. Tennyson, Jingying Wang, Szu Ying Huang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Citations (Scopus)


Developments in cloud technology has made it possible for users to use the Internet and smart handheld devices for performing various tasks. Many types of E-books and APP have been made as a result. However, few investigations have been carried out to determine whether E-books and APP are useful for college-level engineering courses in the classroom settings. Hence, this study has selected a mechanical drawing course where E-books and APP could be used in theoretical and practical teaching to perform an empirical investigation. E-books were used to study the principles of mechanical drawing, while the APP was used for creating mechanical drawings and learning the processes involved in actual mechanical drawing processes. The investigation then analyzed the relationship between learning styles and the usability of the E-books and the APP. Results showed that students gave higher ratings for the aesthetics, convenience, intention to use, user satisfaction, and task-technology fit for E-book usability. For APP, students gave good reviews for 7 aspects, namely intention to use, completeness, consistency and functionality, course management, perceived usefulness, aesthetics, and user satisfaction. Further findings showed that the use of E-books and APP in the learning of CAD was closely related to learning styles and that students with different learning styles have their respective preferences. Student performance in the course after using E-books and APP in the learning was closely related to learning styles. Theorists achieved the best scores in the mechanical drawing course with E-books and the APP, followed by the pragmatist, the activist, the reflector, and finally the mixed learner. To develop E-books that are practical in the field of education, this study recommends converting abstract concepts into actual examples, providing challenging learning activities, offering multi-sensory experiences, establishing logical connections between knowledge points, and giving learners with problem solutions, means of searching for additional information, operational interfaces, and self-learning systems as well. This study offered a direction in the development of usable learning materials (E-books and APP) that would be more helpful and compatible with actual lessons in class.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-193
Number of pages13
JournalComputers and Education
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Jan 1


  • APP
  • E-books
  • Engineering courses
  • Learning styles
  • Usability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Computer Science
  • Education


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