Designing learning objects that afford learners the experience of important variations in Chinese characters

Ho Cheong LAM, W. W. KI, A. L. S. CHUNG, Po Yuk KO, A. C. Y. LAI, S. M. S. LAI, P. W. Y. CHOU, E. C. C. LAU

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)


Effective teaching should focus the attention of learners to its essential aspects. It follows that instructional software can be designed in such a way that allows learners to experience the important variations in the critical aspects of the content to be learned. This paper reports on the experience of designing such special kinds of instructional learning objects for the learning of Chinese characters. The design of these learning objects takes into consideration not only what Chinese characters are all about but also how learners commonly make errors while they learn to write the characters. Out of the analysis of these learners' errors, variations in the structural features of Chinese characters were pulled out and embodied in the design of the learning objects. Learners tinkering with the learning objects can thus implicitly develop a sense of the structural features or regularity of Chinese characters, which most importantly should prepare the learners to learn more new characters in the future. The main proposal of this paper is the notion of this variation‐affording instructional software that allows learners to attend to the essential aspects of what is to be learned. Furthermore, the idea of the learning object also differs from other instructional software in its small, self‐contained and reusable nature, such that teachers can flexibly embed the learning objects into their own teaching materials. Copyright © 2004 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)114-123
JournalJournal of Computer Assisted Learning
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2004



Lam, H. C., Ki, W. W., Chung, A. L. S., Ko, P. Y., Lai, A. C. Y., Lai, S. M. S, . . . Lau, E. C. C. (2004). Designing learning objects that afford learners the experience of important variations in Chinese characters. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 20(2), 114-123. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2729.2004.00071.x


  • Instructional software design
  • Learning Chinese characters
  • Writing errors and theory of variation