Online learning has become a panacea for all of us who find ourselves without enough hours in the day to accomplish what we need to do. The last thing you want is an online training course that is not clear-cut and leaves a lot of questions for the learner. Both content creators and learners want easy-to-use, effective courses that will provide the necessary training without a lot of confusion.
Here are some design tips for content creators that will ensure effective training courses:
- Always include a navigation screen at the start, even if you think the learners have participated in online learning before. The navigation screen should have clear and simple instructions so any learner can easily progress through the course. By making navigation easy, learners can focus on the course content.
- Free up navigation. Make sure learners can easily go back to previous screens if they need to review any material for a better understanding.
- Pay attention to the layout of each and every screen. Avoid cluttering screens with too much information. The screen should be pleasing to the eye and designed to draw the learner’s eye to the most important information.
- Include a glossary. Never assume that the learners will understand jargon, technical terms or acronyms. The glossary should be comprehensive and explain key terms in plain language.
- Include regular quizzes to check the learners’ understanding of the content. Instead of having one huge test at the end of a course, it is better to have shorter tests at regular intervals throughout the course. Regular tests and quizzes are a good way for learners to measure their own understanding and build their confidence.
- Give learners the option of finding out more information if they need to. You could include a box on some screens saying “Want to know more? Click on this link to learn more about…”
- Provide a contact person for questions. If the learners do have questions, is there someone they can contact?
- Ask another person to check the course to see if it makes sense. If you have access to proofreaders, they can point out any content that is unclear. Alternatively you can ask a pilot group of learners to go through the course. Ask them to offer feedback on points they thought worked, or didn’t work.
- Engage in continuous improvement. Even when you have published and released your course to learners, there is still the opportunity to gather feedback and make improvements to the course. You could include a survey asking learners if there was anything they found unclear. This is a great way for you to keep learning about the learners’ perspective and to remind yourself that you are designing courses for real people.
- Distribute your course effectively.
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