It was sometime last week that I bumped into an old friend, a training manager with a multinational firm. While on the subject of eLearning, I asked him, “Is the eLearning course you just rolled out in your organization learner-friendly?”. “What an absurd question to ask”, he replied.
What most of us think as absurd, is often what is lacking in eLearning courses. We are often under the false impression that including amazing content and creative instructional design strategies, takes care of the learner-friendliness of a course. What we need to remind ourselves is that eLearning is all about learners, and the way they learn. The eLearning course development steps that we follow, need to focus on 5 learner-friendliness as a priority.
1. Follow Responsive Design
According to the Global Mobile Workforce Forecast 2015-2020, the global mobile workforce will increase to 1.75 billion, by 2020. It is not surprising that an increasing number of organizations are moving towards mobile learning. Many organizations are also promoting the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) concept.
With technology growing by leaps and bounds, it does not make sense to dish out the same old, legacy courses to learners. Ensure that your eLearning course follows a responsive design, so that learners can take the training using any mobile device.
What happens when you do not follow a responsive design for eLearning courses? Mobile devices have different resolutions, so the content and objects in the eLearning course are either going to shrink or enlarge to the extent where it appears cropped. By following a responsive design, your eLearning course is optimized for viewing on various mobile devices.
2. Include Clear Course Navigation Instructions
It is important to design an eLearning course that is aesthetically appealing. But, that’s not more important than providing clear course navigation instructions.
Crystal clear navigation instructions and a course menu are essential eLearning course development steps. Let your learners know where each button or link leads to. In an attempt to design something different, do not change the look of your navigation menu drastically. It can leave learners confused, and even make them give up the course halfway.
Do not forget the course map, as it provides learners an overview of the topics covered in the course, and offers a hassle-free way to access topics that they need to repeat or refresh their memory on.
3. Follow a Style Guide
The design of your eLearning course needs to follow certain guidelines. For instance, you cannot have different templates, colors, and font styles in the eLearning course. Why? This would make the eLearning course look unprofessional and the screen may appear cluttered. Your intention is to design an eLearning course that offers clarity, and not a potpourri of colors that creates a jarring effect.
It is frustrating for learners to adjust to different templates, colors, and fonts as they navigate through the course. Choose the right colors, as this eLearning course development step plays a huge role in enhancing content retention. Too many colors can cause chaos, so it is better to restrict yourself to a maximum of 3 colors.
4. Use Concise and Comprehensible Text
One of the most important eLearning course development steps for a learner-friendly eLearning course is to present content in a concise and comprehensible manner.
White space is equally important as it directs learners’ attention to important elements in the course.
Pay attention to content chunking. There is no point in including stunning graphics just to make the course attractive. Include appropriate visuals wherever required. In short, design for the way people learn.
5. Include Links for Optional Information
It is good to include links to information that’s nice to know. Certain learners would love to know more about a topic or explore additional information at their leisure.
By separating the need-to-know information from the nice-to-know, you will not overwhelm the learner with information that is irrelevant to perform their current job role.
At the same time, for learners who are looking for additional information, the eLearning course provides the resources.
Keep your eLearning course simple. It is not always necessary to have flashing imagery to make an eLearning course attractive to learners.
The above points are some of the basic eLearning course development steps to design learner-friendly training programs. Can you think of some more steps? Please use the Comments section to add to this list.