7 Worst eLearning Navigation Obstacles And Tips To Avoid Them
wavebreakmedia/Shutterstock.com

How To Avoid 7 eLearning Navigation Obstacles

Using a book is easy. You just open it and read it to get the information you’re looking for. Software is a little different, or at least it should be. You can only look at one page at a time, unless you use a split screen. Yet there are multiple elements to an eLearning course. The idea is to make it easy to use. Online learners already require effort to absorb educational content. If you make it a challenge to use the system in the first place, they won’t bother. Here are 7 of the most common eLearning navigation obstacles and tips on how to avoid them.

1. Confusing eLearning Course Layout

Your first instinct might be to dazzle your online learners with complicated eLearning course layouts that feature vibrant colors and innovative themes. Of course, creating an aesthetically pleasing eLearning course is essential for learner engagement. However, it shouldn’t come at the cost of navigability. One of the worst eLearning navigation obstacles is a confusing eLearning course layout that only makes matters worse for online learners who want to access information quickly. They need to be able to log into the platform, acquire the takeaways, and then apply them in practical situations, instead of trying to decipher the icons or find buttons hidden among cluttered pages. Develop a more simplistic eLearning course layout that is intuitive and user-friendly. Your online learners shouldn’t have to play a game of “Where's Waldo?” when trying to locate the social media icons or the ‘next’ button.

2. Treating Your eLearning Course Like An eBook

As I’ve mentioned, books are mostly read from beginning to end. But you can jump around if you have a good table of contents. eLearning courses should allow for this, too. If an online learner simply wanted to study chronologically, they’d buy a book. eLearning courses are intended to be more flexible, and they shouldn’t just be endless chunks of text. Those can be downloaded for free. Enrich your eLearning course with multimedia elements. Use drag-and-drop cursors, audio clips, videos, and interactive modules. Make it more than words typed on electronic ‘paper’.

3. Too Much Audio

Other eLearning developers rush to present voice-overs, forgetting this turns their eLearning course into an audiobook. Statistics show the majority of online videos are watched with the sound off. It avoids making a nuisance, and people don’t always want to use headsets. It’s okay to include audio clips and voice prompts, especially for translations. However, make sure there are always subtitles and an option to mute the instructional voice. Text is particularly important for eLearning course instructions and main discussion points. For example, the eLearning course summary should be plainly printed on the screen, even if it’s repeated in the narration.

4. Not Enough Direction

There’s a popular design for modern web pages where the page has a vivid graphics interface and no words. There might be a hamburger in the corner indicating the navigation menu. Alternatively, you may have to hover for text to appear. This makes a pretty web page. But someone unfamiliar with the style will soon leave the ‘blank website’, no matter how beautiful the visuals are. Avoid this mistake in your eLearning course design. Put clear cues that guide online learners on what to do and where to go. It could be as simple as an arrow, or words like ‘start here’ or ‘scroll to navigate’. You could also begin the eLearning course with an animated navigation tour.

5. No Room To Skip

Similarly, online learners have different knowledge levels and prefer to study at their own pace. Not having the option to do so is one of the biggest eLearning navigation obstacles they could encounter. Whether they’re advanced learners or reviewing a specific topic, make it easy for them to access relevant materials. Design the eLearning course in a way that lets online learners skip forward or backward. It’s also helpful to link relevant chapters and allow instant one-click access to appendices and glossaries. Use light boxes for further detail and reference. The light boxes can be activated by hovering on a hyperlink or image.

6. Wrong Level Tech

Someone once told me a story of trying to teach their grandparents how to double-click and having them wait two seconds between clicks. The grandparents then wondered why it wasn’t working. As you develop your eLearning course, think about your online learners and their technological ability. For example, touchscreens can be expensive, but they’re easy for everyone to understand. Similarly, lateral navigation could sink your online learner in hours of unproductive research. Include prompts to bring them back to their initial line of study. Field workers need their eLearning courses available on mobile devices and apps rather than central terminals.

7. Excess External Links

Dead links can be annoying, and it’s easy to overlook their frequency. They’re mostly caused by web pages that no longer exist, but they can also be triggered by spotty internet. Don’t assume your learners will always be online. They may be in transit or have a bad data plan. As much as possible, keep your eLearning course links internal. Program it to jump from one part of the eLearning course to another, rather than relying on live web access. This offers more flexible learning conditions, even when your learners aren’t connected.

Navigation is the single greatest high and low point of any virtual experience. It can instantly turn your online learners into lifelong fans or digital nemeses. Use multimedia rather than boring chunks of endless text. For clips with sound, include subtitles and a muting option. Start with an eLearning course tour, showing online learners how to use the software. Include lots of prompts, hints, and cues. Match the level of tech to your prospective online learners’ skill set, and keep your links circulating within the eLearning course.

Do you provide your online learners with a clear direction to guide them through the process? Do you know how to use eLearning course maps to improve eLearning navigation? Read the article 8 Tips To Improve eLearning Navigation Using Cohesive eLearning Course Maps to discover 8 tips to develop eLearning course maps to streamline eLearning navigation.

Close