This paper presents a methodology for characterizing computer-based learning environments, focusing on the cognitive, pedagogical, and interactive features. The framework for this characterization is explained in relation to the relevant theories and findings in cognitive and instructional research. The methodology is illustrated by a characterization of computer-based learning environments developed by student teachers and professionals. The usability of these environments is analyzed along the dimensions of the framework presented. The results showed that this methodology can systematically and precisely characterize the cognitive, pedagogical, and interactive features of computer-based learning environments. It can be used to predict and explain the success or failure that a given software program promotes for learning particular types of knowledge. The applications of this methodology for the evaluation and design of computer-based learning environments, for instructional research in various instructional contexts, as well as for the study of expertise in the development of computer-based learning environments, are discussed. © 1995 Kluwer Academic Publishers.
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