Here are some highlights of what we've discussed in this workshop, along with some additional notes and guidelines for developing your online learning adventures.
- Technology requirements -- Don't forget to investigate the hardware, software and bandwidth your audience uses before you begin planning and developing your program.
- Page file size -- Keep your pages to 40 kilobytes or less for online Web training. The magic number appears to be about 15 seconds for the maximum time users will wait for a page to load.
- Course navigation -- Make sure your navigation tools are intuitive. Include links to "help," an online community, and glossaries or other references.
- Modules -- Make sure your course is broken down into manageable sections that the student can get through in 20 minutes or less.
- Fonts -- Keep your fonts simple. TIP: San serif fonts like Arial and Helvetica are easier to read on screen. Also, remember that the font you choose must be on the user's computer system or a substitute font will be used. This can cause some changes to your text layouts that could affect the clarity of the message. Arial is a common font that will probably be available to almost everyone.
- Colors -- Make sure you use contrasting colors for backgrounds and fonts. Overusing complex coloring such as gradients may also slow the program down.
- Quality -- Keep the quality of your graphics, videos and audio at a consistent level.
- Text -- Keep your text to no more than six lines per screen.
- Interaction -- Remember to involve the student through the use of interactive elements, but make sure the action builds the message rather than detracts from it.
- Patterned teaching -- Remember to work varied aspects, examples and related facts into the content of the course to keep those neural systems on their toes.
- Feedback -- Make sure feedback is given after each quiz section.
- Multimedia -- Don't use media simply for the sake of using it. Make sure it applies to the training in a logical manner and reinforces the information.
- Blended learning environments -- If you're having a hard time with the idea of completely trashing your classroom training environment, remember you can always combine e-learning with the more traditional methods you're more accustomed to. This blended environment can also be an effective way to provide training, and might have better initial acceptance.
Now that we've discussed how to create an e-learning course, we'll talk about actually finding e-learning courses, starting with those offered by colleges.