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Usability Evaluation of a Problem Solving Environment for Automated System Integration Education Using Eye-tracking

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

NSF Grantees' Poster Session

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.1404.1 - 25.1404.11



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Paper Authors

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Punit Deotale Texas A&M University


Sheng-Jen Hsieh Texas A&M University

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Dr. Sheng-Jen (”Tony”) Hsieh is a professor in the Dwight Look College of Engineering at Texas A&M University. He holds a joint appointment with the Department of Engineering Technology and the Department of Mechanical Engineering. His research interests include engineering education, cognitive task analysis, automation, robotics and control, intelligent manufacturing system design, and micro/nano manufacturing. He is also the Director of the Rockwell Automation Laboratory at Texas A&M University, a state-of-the-art facility for education and research in the areas of automation, control, and automated system integration.

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Usability Evaluation of a Problem Solving Environment for Automated System Integration Education Using Eye-trackingResearch suggests that realistic practice using authentic learning environments leads to bettertransfer of skills. Based upon input from industry engineers with expertise in designing andbuilding automated systems, two problem solving environments (PSEs) were developed. EachPSE provides a virtual environment for building, testing, and validating designs for a process tobe automated. The user is presented a toolbox containing equipment and building blocks ofautomation such as sensors and actuators. The PSEs support students in design problem-solvingactivities such as (1) reviewing the problem, (2) understanding the process to be automated, (3)line balancing, (4) layout, (5) simulation, and (6) cost analysis.This paper presents results from a usability evaluation of one of the PSEs. The evaluationutilized a Facelab desktop mounted eye-tracking system. Users’ eye movements were trackedusing a camera and sensors to determine their gaze direction and fixations. The data collectedfrom the evaluation was used to determine if use of visual cues improved the usability of thePSE. Results show that use of visual cues for gaze direction improved the usability of the PSEapplication, based on faster task completion times and improved navigability.

Deotale, P., & Hsieh, S. (2012, June), Usability Evaluation of a Problem Solving Environment for Automated System Integration Education Using Eye-tracking Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--22161

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