Here are some highlights of what we’ve discussed in this workshop, along with some additional notes and guidelines for developing your online learning adventures.
- Technology requirements — Don’t forget to investigate the hardware, software and bandwidth your audience uses before you begin planning and developing your program.
- Page file size — Keep your pages to 40 kilobytes or less for online Web training. The magic number appears to be about 15 seconds for the maximum time users will wait for a page to load.
- Course navigation — Make sure your navigation tools are intuitive. Include links to “help,” an online community, and glossaries or other references.
- Modules — Make sure your course is broken down into manageable sections that the student can get through in 20 minutes or less.
- Fonts — Keep your fonts simple. TIP: San serif fonts like Arial and Helvetica are easier to read on screen. Also, remember that the font you choose must be on the user’s computer system or a substitute font will be used. This can cause some changes to your text layouts that could affect the clarity of the message. Arial is a common font that will probably be available to almost everyone.
- Colors — Make sure you use contrasting colors for backgrounds and fonts. Overusing complex coloring such as gradients may also slow the program down.
- Quality — Keep the quality of your graphics, videos and audio at a consistent level.
- Text — Keep your text to no more than six lines per screen.
- Interaction — Remember to involve the student through the use of interactive elements, but make sure the action builds the message rather than detracts from it.
- Patterned teaching — Remember to work varied aspects, examples and related facts into the content of the course to keep those neural systems on their toes.
- Feedback — Make sure feedback is given after each quiz section.
- Multimedia — Don’t use media simply for the sake of using it. Make sure it applies to the training in a logical manner and reinforces the information.
- Blended learning environments — If you’re having a hard time with the idea of completely trashing your classroom training environment, remember you can always combine e-learning with the more traditional methods you’re more accustomed to. This blended environment can also be an effective way to provide training, and might have better initial acceptance.
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