How To Improve Your eLearning Course Navigation
Undoubtedly, you’ve put a great deal of time and effort into designing your eLearning course. Countless resources have been devoted to providing the best possible eLearning experience for every member of your audience. However, if learners are stumbling through the eLearning course thanks to confusing navigation buttons and expired or broken links, frustration will prevent them from achieving learning goals and objectives. The good news is that there are some tips you can follow to improve your eLearning course navigation.
- Function is just as important as form.
We’ve all participated in eLearning courses that have stunning graphics and beautiful design elements, only to be frustrated by illogical or confusing navigation controls that hinder the overall eLearning experience. While it’s important to pay attention to the aesthetic appeal of your eLearning course, this should not take greater precedence over navigability. Navigation buttons should be easy to see, rather than hidden in amongst elegant flourish design or flashy graphics. They should stand out from the other elements on the page, rather than blend in, as your learners need to be able to see them within a matter of seconds when they are clicking through the eLearning course.
- Create labels that allow for quick and easy reference.
If you believe that your eLearning course may not be as user-friendly as it should be, a quick tip is to label or number each page to guide your learners through the eLearning course. For example, you can label the quiz for your first module as “Lesson 1-Assessment”, so that your learners know where they have left it off, in case they need to exit the eLearning course before completing the eLearning module. This can also give them a clear indication of how far they have progressed and what lies ahead. For instance, a label stating “Lesson 1-Screen 14/15” will give them a clue that they are almost done with the eLearning module and should prepare for a quiz or exam.
- Include a general overview for those who veer.
Websites have site maps to give visitors a quick overview of the pages and topics they can find therein. Developing a general overview or “course map” for your eLearning course can give learners the opportunity to get an at-a-glance view of its eLearning content. Create a link to the course map on each screen, including the main page, so that learners who are accessing the eLearning course can click right through to where they left off. Chances are, they won’t have the time or the patience to push the “next button” countless times in order to find the page they last accessed. This general overview doesn’t have to be stunning or feature a vast array of graphics. In fact, the more basic, the better, as you simply want to provide your learners with a hassle-free way to get to different lessons within your eLearning course.
- Never assume that learners know the navigational controls they have at their disposal.
The simple truth is that there are bound to some learners who aren’t familiar with your eLearning course navigation controls you have established. Even if you are using the traditional “back” and “next” arrows, they may be new to eLearning courses or new to computers, for that matter. As such, you should never assume that everyone will know how to use your navigational controls, no matter how simple and straightforward they might be. Always include directions on how to use the eLearning course and include a link on the main page that redirects them to a tutorial or brief explanation video. Clearly label all of the buttons by stating where they lead and what a learner should do next. For example, if a learner needs to click a button in order to go to the recap screen, then create a button that states “Click Here for Lesson Review”.
- Use navigation icons that are recognizable and relevant.
Avoid using navigation icons or images that your learners may not be familiar with. For instance, while everyone might instantly recognize arrows, they might not automatically realize that a picture of a flower will take them to the next screen. In addition to labeling your navigation icons, you should also use images that are relevant to the subject matter and are culturally accepted. While a “thumbs up” icon might mean “I agree to the survey question” in one culture, another might not immediately recognize its significance. In addition, if you are planning on localizing your eLearning course in the near future, you may want to choose graphics that are globally accepted, so that you won’t have to worry about switching them out when the time comes.
- Get user feedback to improve your eLearning course navigation.
The best way to find out if your eLearning course is truly user-friendly is to ask your learners. Get their feedback to determine if your navigation controls are clear and easy to understand, if they can access various parts of the eLearning course quickly, or if you have to fine tune your design and layout. Ask them to complete surveys or participate in focus groups that deal specifically with the navigability of your eLearning course. Encourage them to share their opinions about their overall eLearning experience, and what they might change about the navigation controls.
Keep these eLearning course navigation tips in mind when designing your next eLearning course to steer clear of chaotic eLearning course navigation and help your learners to stay on track and on target to achieve their eLearning goals.
Wondering how to create an eLearning course with stunning visual design? Read the article Top 5 Tips for Visual Design in eLearning where you will find a few simple and straightforward tricks that can help you take the visual design of your eLearning course to the next level.