Declaration of War

Duck Soup - Marx BrothersOn retrospect, my best, most well received courses did NOT contain next buttons. These were courses well designed for the self directed, adult learner. And I believe by not including those dastardly, rotten next buttons it ensured that I consciously designed a very engaging course that kept the learner wanting to participate. These stinking next buttons are just holding us back. So, I am not only publicly denouncing the next button…



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6 responses to “Declaration of War”

  1. nikol says :

    Hi – I agree that the Next button can be our enemy, but how do you compensate for unmotivated learners? Some folks (like me, at times) take e-learning courses as part of required job training and are not engaged in the content enough to be self-directed. In those cases is the Next button a worthy ally?

    Also, who do you believe bears most of the responsibility of motivating learners to self-direct? The stakeholders, SMEs, or developers?

    Always enjoy your thoughts.


  2. MattyBee says :

    I’m with you! The next button is anathema!
    Don’t forget the other six things that need to be banned from elearning design. Check out Top 7 things NOT to do when designing e-learning

  3. Karyn Romeis says :

    Woohoo! Welcome aboard. We are dealing with adults, and we are not building funicular fairground rides. Tunnel of Love? How about Tunnel of Tedium?

    In response to Nikol’s questions:

    First, the learners you talk about have the option of working their way down the menu from top to bottom, if they like.

    Second, I would say that motivating learners to self direct is partly the responsibility of the learning designer and the individual’s line manager, but most of all, it’s the responsibility of the person themselves.

    Either they will or they won’t. We have to stop trying to force, compel, mandate or otherwise coerce people back into childish behaviour patterns. Treat people like responsible, independent, thinking adults and they will step up to the plate. Treat them like ‘sheeple’ and they will demotivate faster than you can say “Baa-aa!”

  4. Jeff says :

    Nikol, in regards to who bears the most responsibility to motivate learners to self direct, it is the course/e-learning designer. However, all stakeholders should have buy-in and should understand the design approached used. Hopefully, all involved support it. This is especially true of the developer, the person actually putting the design together into a functioning, online course (e.g. WBT, Simulation, etc.). This is of course if one person designs and another develops.

    In addition to self direction, the end-users need to be self-disciplined learners. Just like in a classroom training, if the learners do not want to learn they won’t. But if they want to learn, find the course relevant to their training needs, and is designed well, they will get the most out of the course.

    For my approach to motivating learners, please read my ARCS post:

    Mattybee, loved your “7 things not to do…”
    We share the same disdain for next button.

    Thanks for the comments,


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  1. Questions I No Longer Ask | MinuteBio - December 21, 2010
  2. Questions I No Longer Ask | MinuteBio - December 21, 2010

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