Design Rules for e-learning

The design rules for e-learning can vary widely.

As e-learning professionals, we want to create environments where learners can thrive. That is the worthy goal. So, which rules do we follow to achieve higher learning outcomes?

Donald Clark wrote a blog post, Mayer & Clark – 10 brilliant design rules for e-learning, based on Richard Mayer and Ruth Clark’s research on media and media mix hypotheses in online learning. In this post he describes several key areas of design and their research findings. Below we’ve summarized some of the major points.

design-rules-for-e-learningSummary of Design Rules for e-learning:

Eliminate Redundancy
It is not necessary to toss in every media mix known to mankind to bring e-learning environments to life. In fact, research shows it has the opposite effect. Too much media mix can lead to cognitive overload.

White Space is Key
Research shows that less is more. Allow for breathing room with information. To do this, be concise and thoughtful in how you lay out the content. Keep words to a minimum. Organize words using bullet points, subheads, bolded keywords and pithy paragraphs.

Audio and Animation
To help a student achieve learning, use audio along with your animation rather than text. Using text with animation can causes cognitive confusion and can impede learning.

Graphics and Text
When text is located away from its associated graphic, learning can be decreased. When the learner has to scan the screen to read text that sits apart from its graphic, their learning can be disrupted. The trick here is to keep the text close by the graphic that it is complimenting. When this is done, according to research, problem solving is increased.

Keep it Conversational
Using first-person and second-person language keeps things conversational. Keeping it in a dialogue format opens up the learning environment to one that is interactive.

Design Rules for e-learning in a nutshell

To be effective, e-learning environments need to keep a learner’s attention focused on the topic at hand, need to minimize distraction, and need to help increase cognitive connection. For a more in-depth analysis of the research conducted on this area, please visit Donald Clark’s blog.

Always in learning mode,
Your friends at ISD Now

P.S. Please share your thoughts. Which one of the design rules for e-learning do you agree with the most?