Skip to content

What Are The Different Navigation Styles in Elearning Design?

In my previous blog, if you recall we have seen the importance of navigation in eLearning design and how it helps different kinds of learners, with their various learning styles.

Now we will look into the various navigation styles that assist the learners to take up their course smoothly and keep them engaged.

Navigational functions are of two kinds namely, required navigational functions and optional navigational functions.

Required navigational functions:

Required navigational functions are mandatory to include in an eLearning course, for the course to be an effective and ideal one, which mainly includes start, exit, forward, backward, save etc.

Optional navigational functions:

Optional navigational functions are not mandatory and they may or may not be included in an eLearning course. These functions are added whenever and where ever necessary, as per the requirement. This includes book marking etc. These functions require double confirmation before performing the function.

Fill out this form to access a free eBook


Let’s see some of the design styles of navigation functions.

  • Horizontal navigation: This is the most commonly used navigation tool. In this, a drop-down sub-menu is used to explain the horizontally laid bulletin points. This is not suitable for complex courses with large content.
  • Vertical navigation: As in horizontal navigation, this also uses drop-down side-menu, to explain the vertically laid bulletin points. Unlike horizontal navigation, this can be used even for large content, but is not suitable for very complex content.
  • Tabbed navigation: This can be both horizontal as well as vertical navigation. However, tabs are usually used horizontally as vertical tabbed navigation might be difficult to read the text.
  • Grid navigation: This navigation style is mostly suitable for visual rich content. The visuals or the images are placed in grids. The grids can be in various shapes and the number of grids depends on the magnitude of content.
  • Previous-next navigation: These features are used to navigate through the pages, or slides, in an eLearning course.They are most often used in the form of arrows. Previous-next navigation is also used, many a times in conjunction with other styles.

By now I think you are sufficiently informed about the various navigation styles possible in eLearning design. More ideas or suggestions are welcome.

Classroom to eLearning Conversion – FAQs and More