So in further researching my subject area of design affecting learning in e-textbooks – I am finding that there are a lot of resources relating to e-learning programs and not an awful lot of readily-accessible, digestible content surrounding e-textbooks specifically. This being the case i’m going to post a number of items that focus on e-learning in general and relate them back to e-textbooks. I may also re-focus my blog slightly to focus on the learning process in general through e-resources – whether it’s interactive textbooks or e-learning programs.
So I found this blog post today that, although somewhat generalized and also relatively obvious to the trained graphic-designer, the blogger does highlight some key considerations that I need to be mindful of in my design practice work. I will add findings from this to my practical application brainstorming process going forward.
The author, Christopher Pappas, is founder of The eLearning Industry’s Network, which is the largest online community of professionals involved in the eLearning Industry. He has also spent a number of years as an e-learning consultant. He holds an MBA, and an MEd (Learning Design) from Bowling Green State University and is an avid elearning Blogger. So I can be fairly certain that his comments have merit.
Particular points worth focusing on in this blog include:
- Too many elements on a page will look cluttered and chaotic – choose focal elements that add real value to the subject and are cohesive and you’ll help to retain learner motivation and interest.
- Include the most important textual information on the left-hand side of the screen and balance with images on the right. (Gutenberg Diagram).
- Avoid cognitive overload by keeping text blocks narrow. Break up larger text blocks into shorter blocks – consider adding bullet points.
- Consider a layout pattern – keep key navigational data in the same place – use the same styles throughout for certain key data.
- Appeal to the learners’ visual sensibilities by using colours that compliment each other – use visually contrasting colour themes.
- Reduce confusion and frustration by keeping navigational tools clear and obvious.
- Don’t let creativity get in the way of organisation and cohesiveness – think simple and straightforward at the same time as being innovative.
Some of these considerations have featured in academic texts that I’ve recently reviewed and as such have a strong theoretical grounding. More research on my part is needed in really analyzing why some of these elements have such an impact on learners attention-span and data-retention abilities.