5 Smart Ways to Organize Your Content for eLearning
One of the steps to chunk content and help students digest content easily it’s to separate it into segments of information conceptually related. People learn ways to organize information so they can begin to see relationships, draw conclusions and make predictions. In order to do these, there are different strategies. We encourage you to choose the one that best suits your goals and type of content.
Your goal is to create eLearning courses that will get learners engaged. At 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. Chunking content is a powerful way to bring “boring” or dull content to life and give it relevance. Whether you are repurposing old information or creating new content from scratch, the organization of your course´s content plays a big role in adding excitement and interest to connect with your audience successfully. Basically, if your students believe the content is important to them, they may read and complete the course even if it's poorly written. If it's poorly organized, they definitely won't.
Let’s take a look at five smart ways you can organize content in your eLearning courses:
This type of content arrangement is based on the similarity of characteristics or relatedness of the different items. This is a specially useful approach when all the information being organized is equal or content has no hierarchy or sequence. Basically, grouping content into categories serves two objectives: First, it helps reduce screen clutter by bringing together similar content. Secondly, grouping into categories allows learners to quickly find differences between concepts.
For example: You need to explain students the different customers they are going to deal with. Organize the client into two categories: "future customer" or "not likely customer".
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. Having learners organize information into hierarchy based on importance, urgency or level of awareness is an effective way to make sure they actually understand what is most important.
For example: If you need to train new employees about your more than ten product lines, organizing them by order of importance is a great idea. You could organize them by amount of revenue generated, by popularity, etc.
Cause and effect
A great way to get learners to consume additional content is to organize content with a cause and effect scheme. There are three ways to organize information this way:
- Overviews one event and examine the multiple causes.
- Looks at the multiple effects of a single cause.
- A chain of causes and effects which begins with one event and follows the chain reaction to the end results.
Example: Let's say you are working on a course on Diabetes Prevention. With the use of multiple effect and single cause approach, students may look at the issue of high caloric intake (cause) and get to know the multiple effects: weight gain, insulin imbalance and susceptibily to diabetes.
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 it provides links for students to remember a procedure more easily.
To leverage this technique and make it even more interactive, you could evaluate students by displaying the steps of a process (reviewed earlier in the course) scattered through the screen and have them put the steps in the correct order.
Example: If you are developing a course on the different steps representing a safety procedure, you could organize these steps for correctly addressing a hazardous spill in a lab.
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.
A great idea to make this even more interactive for learners is to create a timeline of events where they could navigate to find out about milestone dates or time periods. Learners are able to click on specific moments through time and a series of resources from that era are available to them (videos, news, etc).
How do you organize eLearning content? What tips are missing from this list?