I get fed up looking at e-learning courses that are little more than e-reading.
Some people seem to have the mindset that e-learning is about loading content into a system and presenting it to the learners, so that the content can be spoon-fed to them. This sort of linear, didactic method was laughed out of the classroom decades ago, so why should be have to put up with it on the Web?
We need to shift the focus from providing learning content to creating a learning experience, and one good way to start is in the design of e-learning courses.
I advocate the ‘route-map’ method, in which learners are invited to go on a journey. The main road should have signposts, showing the route for learners to take; sometimes there will be more than one way of getting there, but the destination will always be clear. In this method, the main screens learners look at consist of headings, aims, instructions, key points, and illustrations of these. But nothing more.
Off the main road, clearly signed, learners will find some interesting and useful branches. These will include readings (attachments like PDFs, links to existing Websites and offline reading lists), activities (quizzes, games, simulations, etc), assessments and other resources (perhaps video or audio clips, animations, and so forth). Learners will choose what they fancy, with guidance as to what is mandatory and what is supplementary. But always, the main trunk road will be there, pointing them towards the end of the journey, course completion.
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