Emily O'Hear

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Chair

Nathan L. Tenhundfeld

Committee Member

Lisa Vangsness

Committee Member

Kristin Weger


Human information processing, Information overload, Dashboards (Management information systems)--Design


As learning analytics dashboards become ubiquitous in various industries, understanding how users process data and information is crucial to their design. Previous literature has brought valuable knowledge to dashboard design and cognitive load, but it is unclear how individuals perform with and digest a high or low information load. Tradeoffs are present as a dashboard with a lower information load requires more clicks and a dashboard with a higher information load could lead to information overload. This study presented a data-rich and minimalistic dashboard to active-duty airmen at Fairchild Air Force Base. Results indicated that participants largely preferred the data-rich dashboard but rated the minimalistic dashboard higher in satisfaction. There were no significant differences between the dashboards regarding usefulness, ease of use, ease of learning, and response time. The current study provided further research into how dashboard design and cognitive load impact performance and usability.



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