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TO P 1 0 T I PS FO R O N L I N E T R A I N I N G D E S I G N

TOP 10 TIPS FOR


O N L I N E T R A I N I N G D E S I GN

Michaels & Associates Docntrain, Ltd. dba Michaels & Associates


11639 E. Wethersfield Road, Scottsdale, AZ 85259 USA
marketing@docntrain.com www.docntrain.com
Phone: 480-614-8440 Toll-free: 877-614-8440 Fax: 480-614-2775

Copyright © 2009 Michaels & Associates Docntrain, Ltd. dba Michaels & Associates. All rights reserved.
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TOP 10 TIPS FOR
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1 0 T I P S F O R C R E AT I N G E F F E C T I V E
O N L INE T RA IN IN G

As a member of an e-learning development team, your primary


goal should be to design effective training experiences for your
learners. Consider the following online design tips to make your
training instructionally sound and valuable to your audience.

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1. Use Clear and Logical Navigation

Learners should be able to navigate through your e-learning with ease. Consider these
principles of screen layout that help with navigation:

 Place screen objects (such as buttons and links) together in a logical order based
on frequency of use.
 Place buttons where the learner's eye can easily find them.
 Give buttons clear symbols or labels.

2. Allow the Learner to Control Screen Information

Adults like to control their learning experiences. Part of this control involves allowing them
to determine how much they want to see on the screen at a time. Keep the following tips in
mind to provide this control:

 Allow the learner to control the gradual building of information onto the screen.
 Learners should be able to see the whole e-learning screen without the need
to use scrollbars.
 Keep on-screen text to a minimum, with sufficient space surrounding it to
aid readability.
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3. Allow Learners to Access Additional Complex Information

Your audience’s knowledge level of what you are teaching is usually quite
diverse, so it’s difficult to determine how much information to provide to bridge
this gap. To accommodate advanced learners, allow access to more detailed
information in pop-up windows, rollover explanations or links to supplementary
documents.

4. Provide an Adequate Number of Examples

Relevant examples of learning points, both for demonstration and practice


purposes, provide real life opportunities for learners to acquire skills and
expertise. Make sure your examples avoid:

 Overloading learner memory by being too complicated.


 Boring the learner by requiring excessive repetition.

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5. Enable Learners to Interact with Course Elements

Interactions motivate learners and enhance the learning experience. Multimedia packages
can deliver highly interactive learning, but to be effective, the interactions need to be relevant
and appropriate to the instructional purpose. Consider these rules of thumb for using
interaction:

 When new material is being learned, interaction involving choices or decisions should
be kept to a minimum.
 Interaction should be employed when learners wish to "try out" the principle they
are learning.
 Hints and help options are important resources for exploratory, interactive learning.

6. Avoid Split Attention with Screen Designs

Split attention occurs when a learner has to hold something in working memory while
searching for a matching component to complete the mental picture. Split attention can occur
whenever two or more sources of information are presented separately on a screen and the
learner must mentally integrate them together to make sense out of the material. A classic
example is a diagram in one area of the screen and the explanatory text in another area.

Consider using techniques such as pointers, marquees and callout captions to lead the
learner’s eye to important or supporting information for your graphics.
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7. Use Multimedia Appropriately

Multimedia training offers a wide range of resources and effects to enhance the learning experience; however, you should weig h the benefits against
the context of the learning environment and the available resources. For example:

 Sound can enhance learning and create exciting interactions, but if the training is to be accessed in a workplace environment, the use of
sound may disturb co-workers. Interaction should be employed when learners wish to "try out" the principle they are learning.
 Insufficient bandwidth and slow downloads may turn a "bells and whistles" course into tiresomely slow delivery that turns learners off.

Multimedia resources are most effective when they reflect the needs of the learners and the resources available.

8. Avoid Redundant Information

The most common version of redundancy with e-learning design is repeating sound (such as audio narration) with text presented on the screen.
Effective “mixed mode” design presents graphics visually and provides abbreviated onscreen text that briefly summarizes what the narrator is saying.

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9. Reject Linear Thinking; Abandon Linear Design

A highly structured, top down approach to instructional design does not address the
needs and preferences of most adult learners. While it’s perfectly acceptable to suggest
a path through a course, learners like to have some control over what they learn and
when they learn it.

10. Respect the Learner

To give your learners the respect they deserve, avoid content and feedback that is
instructionally insignificant, annoying or degrading. Don’t set learners up to fail a task in
an effort to teach them a lesson. Also, be sure to accommodate slower readers by
allowing information to display for an adequate amount of time.
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At Michaels & Associates, your needs and the needs of your learners are at the center of everything we do.

Contact us to learn how we can help you create effective online training for your organization. Michaels & Associates – Let's get engaged!

marketing@docntrain.com www.docntrain.com toll-free: 877-614-8440

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