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Designing Elearning

Overview

Designing elearning is obviously a critical component to ensuring student satisfaction and learning. Several elearnspace resources address components of elearning design: instructional design focuses on the theory and process for designing learning and web design addresses concepts of usability.

This feature will focus specifically on designing elearning materials - activities, content & information architecture, testing, etc. You may find it valuable to read this in conjunction with instructional design and web design.

Designing elearning is a combination of instructional design, usability, and information architecture. These principles are applied to the unique nuances of elearning, creating student-focused learning materials.

Resources

Serendipitous Learning
""Serendipity" is the key word that comes to mind on reading the above verse. And serendipitous experiences is what the Web is all about too. For example, when I browse for books at Amazon.com, I usually end up buying serendipitously. And I do the same at eBay too. In fact, a part of my browsing experience is an eager wait to be inspired by the unexpected. And I'm sure you've had similar experiences. In this article, I will try to explore some of this phenomena, and relate it to the design of online learning environments."

Low Threshold Applications
Excellent site listing simple ways to integrate technology into curriculum.

Zero Cost E-Learning
"As a foot soldier in the e-learning revolution, I see our leaders rapidly losing the hearts and minds of learners, trainers, and designers. Strategists are converging toward learning objects, metatags, and comprehensive and costly platforms. However, some of my fellow soldiers have been developing some agile (and cheap) guerilla e-learning activities: email learning games."

Beyond Classroom Solutions: New Design Perspectives for Online Learning Excellence
"This discussion is aimed at professionals who want to explore new perspectives on designing Web learning instruction and environments. It is intended for participants who recognize that conventional classroom design methodologies may not always work for online learning, especially when an instructor is not available to facilitate more independent learning. What changes do we need to make when we shift the responsibility for learning from the classroom instructor to the online learner? What are our new considerations and what changes do we need to make when we expect learners to become more-self motivated and self-directed online learners?"

U of Phoenix
Short interview detailing how University of Phoenix designs online courses.

Scenario-Based E-Learning: A Step Beyond Traditional E-Learning
"Reality is the ultimate learning situation. Some forms of learning attempt to get as close as possible to this ideal. Simulations, for instance, represent the complexity of a real job situation."

Information architecture versus graphic design
"Much web design has suffered from an over reliance on graphic design principles. Too many graphic designers have tried to force the Web to be what it is not, in the process creating ineffective and sometimes unusable websites. Quality web design is driven by information architecture design principles. Graphic design should support these principles."

Effective Info Architecture
"The site has grown too big, too fast, and they hired you to fix it. So where do you start? There are techniques and people who can help you become a better information architect. You're about to learn the techniques; your users are the people who can help you. Through techniques such as personas, card sorting, and pen and paper testing you stay close to your users and should have a good idea of how to design for them."

Let's Get Animated
"Nearly a decade since the birth of Web publishing, you've got to wonder: Why don't more content sites carry animated cartoons?"

Information Architecture - build a solid foundation for your site
"When you search for something on your favourite website, do you easily find what you are looking for? Can you quickly understand the basic structure of the site and is information located where you expect it to be? If not, then the Information Architecture of the site may need to be improved to better match the mental model of you and other users."

Design for Community
Some useful postings can be found here on design principles - specifically relating to community.

   

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