Navigation and Instructions in eLearning

What are your thoughts on activity and navigation instructions in eLearning?

I see it as a balance where enough instructions are given (or good user interface design) so energy isn’t wasted on figuring out how something works or how to progress … ? ? ?

Are you treating your new hires or people who do your online learning like they don’t have a brain?

Often I see instructional text for activities and navigation through eLearning content is done in a way that treat staff or the eLearning audience as though they’re thick.

bigstock--223851343

Here are some ways I’ve seen eLearning navigation and instructions treat its audience like idiots.

State the obvious, obviously

Push next to continue… repeat, repeat, repeat, did you get that, do you know how to push next?

 

Only ever give instructions in text and make sure it includes lots of detail, okay now you can read the next sentence.

 

Always put instructions in for the lowest common denominator, okay now you can read the next sentence.

 

Never take into account previous experiences with technology, websites and adult learning – assume everyone is a blank slate.

 

Ensure no content can be skipped (I mean missed). The assumption is if you didn’t read it, see it or hear it here then you won’t know or learn it. Never mind how disengaged you are if navigation’s locked then you must have learnt it.

 

To save you getting lost you can move forwards (next button) or backwards (back button) only.

 

Blatantly state when it is the end of the module and give precise instructions on how to exit it – after all you don’t want them stuck in your eLearning course forever!! They’ve got work to do.

 

Give pointless instructions – if you wish to read these points you can scroll back to the top of the page 😉

 

I know I’ve focused on the negative on this post, I’m still getting surprised as I keep seeing the above techniques again and again. Company set eLearning templates are the biggest culprit for continuing these bad navigation and instructional practices, most allow for very little creativity room.

In my next blog I’ll give some examples of making navigation and instructions more natural and interesting to change the tone of the eLearning being delivered.

Have you seen any other navigation and instructional techniques that didn’t work or treated the audience like idiots? Please share and comment below.

If you made it to the here, let me know by liking this post.

Thank you. The end.