As instructional designers, we often get to hear from our clients that they want the entire text that they gave as inputs to be included in the course. It is a very difficult task to present the entire text in a way that reaches the learner effectively. Because in such cases, there is always a chance that the learner might get bored and try ways to skip the content. To avoid such a situation, we need to think of different techniques that would keep the learners engaged and help him complete the course.
Here are five tips that would help you present text-heavy online courses effectively.
1. Try to Reduce the Cognitive Load on the Learner
Too much text on screen may increase the cognitive load on the learner. When you are not allowed to chunk the content for the e-learning course, present it in a way that the learner does not feel the pressure of reading it. Make use of different interactivities so that the learner can only see bits of information at a time. This would reduce the cognitive load on the learner. But, when using interactivities, we need to make sure that the interactivities used are appropriate for the content.
For example, slideshows can be used to represent a sequence of information; similarly, hotspots or rollovers can be used to represent parts of a product and so on.
2. Highlight the Key Words
Key words help the learner retain the information for a long time. In every slide, we need to identify the key words and highlight it by making it “bold” or showing it in different colors. This would grab the learner’s attention and let him focus on the information.
3. Differentiate between “Nice to Know” and “Need to Know” Information
When we get the inputs, we need to thoroughly analyze them and differentiate between what is “nice to know” information and what is “need to know information.” The need-to-know information is the information that helps the learner to understand the concept. And the nice-to-know information adds depth to that concept.
The need-to-know information can be represented on screen and the nice-to-know information can be shown as additional information.
4. Use Visuals for Better Retention
It is a known fact that pictures help to remember information for a long time than just remembering text. So, it is always helpful for the learner to remember concepts if we add an image in the screen that represents the text. Even if the learner skips reading the text, the supporting visuals manage to convey the essential points to the learner.
5. Have Minimal Audio
Reading every word on screen in the audio of an online course would frustrate the learner. We need to have minimal audio when we have a lot of text on screen. The audio should provide a small gist of what on-screen text is talking about. This would help the learner understand the concept and also helps him or her concentrate on on-screen text.
These five tips help you manage large content in e-learning courses effectively. I hope you find this blog informative. Please add your views on it.
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