SHIFT's eLearning Blog

5 Smart Ways to Organize Your Content for eLearning

Posted by Karla Gutierrez on Fri, Oct 19, 2012 @ 03:35 PM

One of the steps to chunk content and help students digest content easily it’s to separate it into sections of related information. People learn ways to organize information so they can begin to draw conclusions and make connections. 

organize elearning contentAt the end, how you manage your information through a course determines, to a large extent, whether you effectively communicate your main points to your learners. Whether you are repurposing old information or creating new content from scratch, content organization plays a big role in creating effective eLearning. Organizing content effectively makes it easier for learners to digest, understand and remember. There's no question about this. In fact, according to George Miller's Information Process Theory, a learner's attention span and short-term memory is limited to processing information in chunks. That's why adherents of such theory suggest splitting up content into small, manageable sections, rather than simply dump never-ending chains of text.  

We think Connie Malamad, published a very helpful article about content organization. So based on this information, we decided to take a look at five smart ways you can organize content in your eLearning courses:

Categories

This type of content arrangement is based on the similarity of characteristics. This technique is handy when all the information being organized is equal (there is no specific sequence). Grouping content into categories helps reduce screen clutter by bringing together similar content.

Order of Importance 

Organizing content in order of importance is very subjective; therefore, you have to be careful how you do it. There are three options to choose from: going from the most important to the least, from the least important to the most, or placing the most important information at the beginning and at the end. This technique is an effective way to make sure learners actually understand what is the most important concepts.

Cause and effect

A great way to get learners to access additional content is to organize content with a cause and effect sequence. There are three ways to organize information this way:

  1. There is one specific event with multiple causes.
  2. There are multiple effects with a single cause.
  3. There are several causes and effects 

This can be helpful in the Healthcare industry, when analyzing a disease. With the use of multiple effect and single cause approach, students may look at the specific situations and get to know the multiple effects.

Sequential

Sometimes you are going to need to present a procedure or show the "how to's” for completing a task or process.  The best way to do this is to structure content in a series of steps. By arranging content sequentially, students remember a procedure more easily. If you are developing a course on the different steps representing a certain procedure, students can organize these steps as many times as they want to ensure they understood the roadmap perfectly. 

Chronological

Without doubt, chronology is one of the most straightforward ways to organize content in a eLearning course.  It´s a fact that when things are laid out in some sort of order, we can work with them more easily.  Therefore by arranging information in the order it happened, learners can easily grasp the concept. This technique is appropriate to show how an idea or place has changed over time.

For example: Show the evolution of a product through the years, or how your company has evolved through time.  As well, many companies use this strategy to present case studies, success stories, annual reports and corporate biographies.

How do you organize eLearning content? What tips are missing from this list?


 



Tags: eLearning, eLearning tips