In my fantasy world, every learner who partakes of one of my courses would be tech savvy, so I can try lots of cool new things to keep them interested. The truth is, we all bring our own experiences to the table and there will be always be learners who are tech-challenged and might need a little extra guidance. As an Instructional Designer, I don’t want to leave any students out in the cold. That being said, I’ll share some simple tips to help make ALL your courses user-friendly for ALL learners.
Using the same color buttons and hyperlinks makes it easy to engage with the content. Keep NEXT and PREVIOUS buttons in the same location – help your learner become familiar with the process and at the same time, get comfortable with online learning.
Consistency is also key when it comes to voice. If you ask a learner to perform a task, make it clear what the task is and that they are to perform it. If you are demoing a process to the learner and they are NOT to interact with the content, but just watch the demo – make that clear to the learner, as well. I’ve seen courses that mix the two techniques without proper definition and clarity. That can be confusing, and the learner can miss important content!
In this example, I have included a direction to “select each stopwatch.” This simple directive establishes that the learner is to interact with the content.
Regardless of whether you use the navigation features of the tool you are creating in, or create your own custom navigation, just make sure you cover all your bases. A learner may wish to return to the first scene and, provided you allow them to do it, make sure you give them an easy way to get back there.
Navigation or “nav bars” are very familiar to most learners, since websites have similar navigation and your users are most like accustomed to using them. And if you’re using “branching” within your course, ensure the learner can always find their way around if they move through the course in a non-linear fashion.
This graphic shows some of the aforementioned tips to make it easy for all learners to interact with my content, just as I intended.
Another tip for guiding the learner is to keep all the navigation in the same look and feel. Text links would be the same color as buttons, and so one. Again, it becomes familiar to the learner and removes any intimidation about interacting with the course.
Here’s an example of using one color to indicate interaction. Notice the orange buttons onscreen, as well as the orange NEXT and PREVIOUS. They don’t look alike but are the same color, so by now the learner is accustomed to interacting with the orange directives.