Here is a list I compiled of things I think should NOT be done when designing e-learning courses. I believe the following are counter to adult learning theory, sound e-learning design and they just down-right irk me. They are not in any particular order.
- Turn off navigation until a screen’s audio is done. Not only do most people read quicker than narration and may choose to move on, it is just plain wrong to deny learners user control.
- Have audio without close caption or at least equivalent content on screen. This is not just a 508 compliance (accessibility) issue, it is also possible that some computers won’t have audio capabilities. For example, this was the case at a bank I worked for where tellers did not have sound on their PCs.
- Force navigation. You know those courses that you can only go in a linear direction using the dreaded next button and they don’t even give you access to a menu, ugh! Didn’t I mention user control earlier?
- Neglect to include orientation. Let me know if I am on page 1 of 10 or 1 of 100. However, if you have page 1 of 100 written anywhere in your course you have even bigger issues to resolve.
- Call a course interactive when all it has is a bunch of pop-ups. There is more to creating an interactive course than adding pop-ups and rollovers. Here is a good resource if you are looking for ideas on how to make your course more interactive – Schone’s “Engaging Interactions for eLearning.”
- Make courses that look like it’s PowerPoint. I know PowerPoint is sometimes used as an authorig tool, but at least use it to create engaging, interactive courses that do not resemble PowerPoint slide decks that you just uploaded to Captivate or Articulate. Need tips on bringing PowerPoint to life? Try the Rapid eLearning blog.
- Leave out feedback for review and assessment questions. Providing feedback is a chance to correct misconceptions, reinforce learning, etc.
- List objectives like they are written in your course design plan. Of course it is good to include objectives, but write them in a way that is more conversational and spark interest.
- Use graphics that have absolutely nothing to do with the learning at hand. See the eLearning Coach for some tips on using graphics.
- Make a course mandatory if it absolutely does not have to be mandatory. Let the learners learn for learning sake.
If you have additional e-learning don’ts, please share them in the comments section.