A Simple Guide to User-Friendly eLearning Courses
One of the most important things that you will need to do when you are designing an eLearning course is to make sure that it is user friendly. It is incredible how many eLearning developers fail to do this. Most times, they worry too much on the content development and lose focus on user friendliness. i
Remember this: No matter how awesome your course looks or how unique its content is, if learners can't navigate the course quickly and easily, they will leave.
As an eLearning developer, your goal is to create eLearning courses that users would love to return to. To make this possible, you need to start by identifying if your course looks like something YOU would understand easily. This means, put yourself in the learner's shoes.
When developing eLearning courses with an eye to user-friendliness, there are a few simple basic principles to keep in mind:
1. Quality content is a MUST:
Learners are coming to your course for a reason. Whatever that reason may be, you need to provide them more than that, you need to present them high quality content. The information you provide needs to sufficiently meet their expectations. Not to mention it must be short, crispy and simple to understand.
2. Design for how people read:
When building an eLearning course , the first thing you need to be sure of is that it can be easily read and understood. You can make your text easier for the learner to take in by narrowing sentences or breaking a longer piece of content into columns. You should also direct the learner’s eyes through a sequence of steps, in a way that facilitates information processing and reading. People use to scan the screen top-down and left right – so order your screen content that way too.
3. Keep it consistent:
Making sure your eLearning course maintains a consistent look and feel will definitely help learners to become less frustrated. This particularly applies to the placement of the navigation and menu bars. Colors, buttons, and other visual cues need to be consistent from screen to screen. Adhering to the same layout (background, fonts, titles, etc) throughout the entire course is also key.
4. Use images carefully:
Images can make a course really stand out when used correctly. Captivate people using high quality images that align with your message. Try to keep images as simple as possible. Sizing graphics appropriately can also effectively lead the eye around the screen. Any screenshots, demonstrative diagrams, or other visually-presented information should be formatted properly to be seen clearly.
5. Contrasting color scheme:
Sometimes eLearning developers get so carried away designing their courses, they forget the basics. The right contrast between the background and content is one of the most basic but most important design principles. You need to select a background color that's compatible with your font color. Choose a clearly readable font and maintain a consistent size throughout, simple!
6. Eliminate Distractions:
To ensure learners can actually understand the message, you need to let them focus on what really matters. It's critical to eliminate any distractions that might drive learners away from performing the action you want. Make sure every element on the screen is relevant to the learner in some way, or it will be diminish the value of content.
7. Smart spacing:
White space is usually just as important as content. With the huge amount of information, especially in eLearning, it is necessary to work out spacing perfectly so text does not appear cluttered. The color of your background doesn't have to be white, but it's a an analogie used to describe the concept of drawing the eye towards an image or text by surrounding it with lots of space.
8. Create a scan-friendly layout:
If you have a lot of information to present, try to break up the text. For example, organize concepts using bullets or numbers. This will not only ensure a greater retention for the learner, but it also helps the learner find key points quickly.
9. Dummy-proof your navigation:
Reinventing the wheel on a navbar is a waste of your time and energy and, it can potentially confuse your learners so much that they leave and never return. No matter how engaging tand interesting your content is, if the course can’t be navigated easily, your course is doom to fail.
Above all, go simple!
When it comes to design, embrace a “less is more” approach on your course. Don’t exagerate with animations and interactions. While in small doses it can be exciting and enhance learner experience, too much of these, reduces retention rates, and slows down the amount of time it takes for your course to load.
What else makes for a user-friendly eLearning course? Share your tips in the comments!