Instructional Design is all about helping people learn easily and quickly. It involves simplifying a subject and making the learning process engaging and interesting. In this process, we often face many challenges and get stuck on how best to present various types of content. One among them is the timeline.
A timeline is a style of representing a series of events that have occurred over a period of time (may be centuries, years, months, or even days). It is an interesting way of showing the events on a simple line with the time marked at the intervals. It helps learners to comprehend events in regard to their occurrence and to form mental maps.
A simple timeline:
Timeline with images: You can add color to the timeline by using images to show how something (e.g., stages of infant growth) has changed from time to time. Use images when text (description) is not important and images are communicating all that is required. You may also use images and add voiceover to explain the key points of the timeline.
Infographic timelines: An infographic is that which combines information and graphics. Timelines with both text and graphics are innovative and also interesting for learners. For example, if you want to show how a country-side has transformed into a city over time, you can show the graphics of both the time periods and add text to specify the changes (increased population, evolution of industries, etc.)
Interactive timelines: Timelines can also be interactive, where learners click each time period to learn about the event. Here you should allow them to click as per their choice; it’s not good practice to restrict learners to a particular way of making choices. Also, make sure that after each click the respective text should not disappear but stay on screen so that learners can have a look at the entire timeline on completion of the interactivity.
I hope these ideas will help you in your next timeline development. If you have any other ideas how to present timelines in more interesting ways, please do share them!