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Importance of Navigation in ELearning

Written By Navyatha Bodanapu

Importance of Navigation in ELearning

Imagine that you want to go to some place and you have no idea about how to get to there? What would you do?

You would take the help of Global Positioning System (GPS) that provides you the exact location of where you are and how you have to go about reaching your destination.

As GPS navigates you to your destination, so do the navigation tools in your eLearning. To get a clear idea, let’s go into its details.

Navigation in eLearning is essentially provided to guide and instruct the learner taking the eLearning course. Navigation gives the learners a picture of how far are they through the course and how far should they go, so that they are done with it.

There are various navigational tools such as start, forward, backward, return to main menu, return to top, replay, back, save, auto-save, pause, bookmark etc. in eLearning design, which avoids confusion. If the course is easy to navigate, through ample navigational functions, the learner can have a better eLearning experience, even if he has minimal computer knowledge.

Again, the extent of use of navigational functions, in eLearning design, depends on the learning traits of the learner. Adaption of navigation in eLearning is strongly affected by learning sequences, describing the order of learning objectives. The sequence of instruction affects the way information is processed and retained.

Basically there are two types of navigation.

  • Linear navigation
  • Linear navigation does not allow the learner to move forward until the previous step is completed. This is preferred by beginners, as it is easy for them to go in a step-by-step process. In general, South Asian countries are more inclined to linear navigation, as they prefer strict instruction for learning and studying.

  • Non-linear navigation
  • Non-linear navigation, unlike linear navigation allows the learner to take up the course as per their convenience. Veterans prefer this kind of navigation. In general, western countries are more inclined to non-linear navigation, as they are not convinced with stringent modes of instruction for learning.

Apart from this, there are two traits of people when it comes to navigation:

  • Analytical people: Analytical people prefer learning in a sequential manner and are more comfortable and inclined, to a linear sequence of instruction.
  • Holistic people: Holistic persons, in contrast to analytical people, prefer to learn in a top-down manner to keep a global picture, which could be encouraged through a simple-to-complex sequence.

Furthermore, learners who are more self-motivated and less interested in a structure to the subject might be supported from time to time through content-different lessons to keep their attraction and motivation. Let’s see some of the advantages of navigation in eLearning design:

  • Access learning-in-progress.
  • Avoids spinning around in circles.
  • Illustrates learners’ current position, learning progress and available actions that may be taken.
  • Align learning instructions or pedagogy with context.
  • Provides clear cut instructions.

Now that you have known the importance of navigation, in an eLearning course design and how it aids various kinds of learners with their various learning styles, don’t you want to know what are the various navigation styles that assist learners to take up their course smoothly?

I am quite sure you must be curious.

We will look into the various navigation styles that can be designed in an eLearning course in my next blog. Stay tuned!

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