Ryan's Blog

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Ok, you got me here, what's next?

Typical e-learning content is delivered in a web page that looks a lot like a PowerPoint presentation. That is, in fixed size slides with a “next” button in the bottom right corner. Recently, developments in responsive design mean that e-learning packages are moving away from slides to a “deep scrolling” approach. We can celebrate the demise of the next button.

Learning is best done in small chunks. You know this already. You know how impatient you are, particularly when you’re on the web. Videos are best kept shorter than 30 seconds, a 3 minute read is 2 minutes too much, debates are won by who gives the best argument in 140 characters.

So we’ll keep our pieces of stuff you need to learn short. You can easily hold it all in your memory, complete it in one sitting between bus stops. But what happens next?

Well, just scroll down and you’ll get the next chunk (or hit the next button if it’s a traditional e-learning package).

“But, I need time to process that information. I’m going to go away and come back later. Can I just get a link to the next one and bookmark it?”

Or maybe

“This has sparked my interest. Do you have some more information I can read? I want to explore it a bit further. Watch a few videos, work through some scenarios?”

Or even

“Actually, I’m bored by this topic, is there anything interesting but tangential that you can show me instead?”

These questions can all be answered “Yes” if we have a “What’s next?” section. At any logical break point in our content we should give the user 5 options.

  1. Continue with the thread as defined in this course
  2. Pause this thread and continue at a later date
  3. Dive deeper into this topic and explore more
  4. Change direction and go off on a tangent
  5. Give up and stop altogether

Avoiding option 5 is crucial, and enabling 1-4 makes that more likely.

So here’s a link for you to read a bit more about modular content (which is what this post is really about) - How Modular Content Works