Well-designed navigation plays a key role in enhancing the effectiveness of an eLearning course as it guides and instructs the learner by giving a clear picture of the course. It goes a long way in creating a rich learning experience. An effective eLearning course needs to be user friendly and self-directing. Proper navigation allows the learner to explore the content and learn the concepts efficiently.
You can use different navigation styles that enhance the efficacy of your eLearning course. Let’s now look at some of them.
1. Horizontal Navigation: Horizontal Navigation is the most commonly used navigation style in eLearning courses. It is preferable to use this style, when you need to place only 5 to 8 items in the main navigation bar. It is better to use horizontal navigation on the top of the screen. If you need to include large volumes of information, you can use drop-down sub-menu.
2. Vertical Navigation: Vertical navigation looks similar to the Menu bar, which is present on the left side of the screen. It is better to place the vertical navigation bar on the left side of the screen, so that the content can be organized well. You can use drop- down sub-menu to prevent inclusion of large amount of information in one slide.
3. Breadcrumb Navigation: Breadcrumb navigation is used as a secondary form of navigation. It is placed on the top of the screen. It is preferable to use this navigation, when you want the learner to switch from the home page to the chapters in the course and vice-versa. The learner can navigate to a particular lesson of the chapter by clicking the Lesson tab (for instance, Lesson 1 as shown in the screenshot below). He can then access the slides in the selected lesson. The main purpose of using this navigation is to make the learner understand “where he is” in the eLearning course.
4. Tabbed Navigation: This is another commonly used online course navigation style. In this style, a series of tabs are placed either vertically or horizontally. It is better to place the tabs horizontally because it is easy to read the content. It is good to use this navigation, when you have crisp and accurate titles for the content that appears when you click on the tabs. We use one tab for each title. When the user clicks on the tab, the content which is relevant to that tab is displayed.
5. Grid style navigation: This is a commonly used for visual rich content in eLearning. It is preferable to use this navigation style, when you want to design main course menu effectively and include a large volume of content. It is mostly used with proper images which correlate with the content.
6. Previous-next Navigation: It is also known as slide show as it helps users navigate through the pages and slides. It is the most widely used navigation style. You can see the left and right arrows in the image below that efficiently guide the learner through the course.
I would like to conclude that various navigation styles can be designed in an eLearning course to make the learners understand easily.