Tuesday, May 26, 2009

What works when creating Web-Based Training

When creating Web-Based Training, the best approach is to look at what works best on the Web. I am a fan of allowing the student to navigate anywhere in the course with just 3 clicks. This means providing navigation menus at all times, with access at least to all the start-of-chapter pages or to a course-wide table-of-contents. What is so powerful about web pages is that they give easy access to whatever content you want to allow. If you give the student control over their navigation, they can adapt the training to their immediate needs.

The biggest frustration I have heard (and experienced) is from not having control over my time when I am doing "self-paced" training. That is, if I have to visit every page, wait for the narration to complete, and/or follow the course author's idea of how they'd like me to go through the content, I get very frustrated, and tune out of the course. If the course allows me to quickly find the areas where I need more information and allows me to take the necessary tests for certification, I enjoy the course much more. Beyond that, I don't expect to retain 100% of the content in the course. But I can bookmark the course. So, if I can get back to the content for a just-in-time refresher, the course will be really useful to me.

A good authoring tool will make it trivial for you to include the necessary navigation (without having to manually add it on every page). If done properly, it will be unobtrusive, but very useful. Beyond that, number every page with an outline number (chapter number.page number) and or a location number (page x of y).

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