In the previous post, we looked at the approaches to design e-learning courses on food safety; in this post, we will look at a few instructional and visual components that we used to engage learners. Let’s see what they are.
The first component is the learning objectives section. As it was a curriculum with many modules, only course level objectives wouldn’t serve the purpose of aligning objectives, content and assessments. So, we included module level objectives and presented all module level objectives using icons across all modules.
Then coming to content treatment, we split the content into ‘need-to-know’ and ‘nice-to-know’. This helped us present the content appropriately instead of showing everything on the screen. We presented the ‘need-to-know’ content as info-graphics, text and image or icon and supplemented with interactivities. Whereas, the ‘nice-to-know’ information was presented in pop-ups. This bifurcation gives learners an opportunity to interact with the content. Regarding the visuals, we used vector images, icons and food industry themes to bring in variety.
The next important component is the engagement technique or presentation pattern. We decided to set the stage for each module by asking engaging questions such as ‘Do you know?’ and ‘Can you recall?’. With ‘Can you recall?’, we get an opportunity to test what the learner has learnt in the previous module. We also used some ‘reflective questions’ during the modules, which allow the learners to think; here, we showed an expert’s opinion. Various presentation patterns such as slide shows (to show guidelines), timeline (to show time period) and info-graphics (to show dos and don’ts) have been used to engage learners.
To consolidate learning, we have added the summary at the end of each module.
Audio is another important component that aids the learning process. Narrating the entire on-screen content increases cognitive load on the learners. So, we used audio judiciously, without compromising on the degree of learner engagement. We used audio for conversation between the characters and to give an overview of the slides. For interactivity slides, we used audio only for introduction and instructions.
The last and the most important component is the assessments section. We made sure that formative assessments are aligned with learning objectives and spread well throughout the module. We used drag and drop, match the following, drop down, etc., to present assessment questions. We used 3 different expressions of the character to provide feedback (correct, incorrect and try again) to the learner. This reinforces the learning and improves retention.
To conclude, these are some of the elements we used to treat the content. Hope you find them useful.