Hypermedia learning and prior knowledge: Domain expertise vs. system expertise

Timothy J.F. Mitchell, Sherry Y. Chen, Robert D. Macredie

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

90 Scopus citations


Prior knowledge is often argued to be an important determinant in hypermedia learning, and may be thought of as including two important elements: domain expertise and system expertise. However, there has been a lack of research considering these issues together. In an attempt to address this shortcoming, this paper presents a study that examines how domain expertise and system expertise influence students' learning performance in, and perceptions of, a hypermedia system. The results indicate that participants with lower domain knowledge show a greater improvement in their learning performance than those with higher domain knowledge. Furthermore, those who enjoy using the Web more are likely to have positive perceptions of non-linear interaction. Discussions on how to accommodate the different needs of students with varying levels of prior knowledge are provided based on the results.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-64
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Computer Assisted Learning
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2005


  • Domain knowledge
  • Hypermedia learning
  • Individual differences
  • System experience


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