A few weeks ago my mother asked for my help with an online learning course. I've seen a number of online courses over the last few years. Unfortunately most of the online courses leave much to be desired. The online course that my mother was taking ended up being a jumbled mess. My mother is not a computer savvy person. She experienced a number of difficulties. When I tried to help her, I quickly became frustrated. If you are creating an online course make sure you concentrate on a user centric approach. Below are some quick points to ponder if you are creating an online learning environment.
Take the time to test you online course with users. Too many online courses suffer from poor usability. This creates an environment that is not conducive for learning. When you are trying to train people online make sure that your emphasis is on learning the course material, not how to learn to use the online system. There were a number of snags that made learning the system my mother was attempting to use very difficult.
Keep your fonts legible and writing concise. Even though my mother's online course offered adjustable font sizing, the largest setting was too small to read. Many online users are in an older demographic. Concentrate on providing enough flexibility so that both young and old can easily absorb the information.
Always have a support area available and have good contact information. If I wasn't around to help my mother, I doubt she would have been able to complete the course. There were a number of features that needed to be explained in more detail. Offer your users a tutorial to acclimate them to your online learning environment.
Online learning is going to eventually become a great powerhouse, but it still has a long way to go. When you try to teach people online keep everything you do simple and to the point. Let your users concentrate on learning the material, not on learning a new system.
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