Student Focused, Easy To Find And Fix
Imagine you are the eLearner. When an online course is ready to be rolled out to eLearners, many best practices show that the course will have endured reviews, audits, and sweeps. But sometimes, problems are overlooked. Instead of examining and reviewing your new or updated online course using the preview function, many Learning Management Systems (LMSs) offer to enroll a replica eLearner. You can then access the course using that sample eLearner’s credentials. Rather than using a new tab or a new window, it’s best to view the course as an eLearner in a separate browser program. Here are six often under-examined checks which your eLearners will appreciate.
6 eLearning Course Checks Your eLearners Will Appreciate
1. Access Is Standard
Keeping a course accessible includes focusing on many standards. Today’s top Learning Management Systems include automated accessibility checks or accessibility checkers. A review of the current accessibility standards reveals the background knowledge that may help when interacting with these helpful tools. When a tool suggests a change, your understanding of the standards puts it all in perspective. For example, let’s say you decide that an image should not be labeled decorative. What strategy is best when describing a graphic for the LMS? Revisit best practices in accessibility to stay up to date on the latest.
2. What If I Told You It’s In The Syllabus?
You may have seen a meme with this statement. So many times, educators share frustrations about the syllabus not getting the attention it deserves. The syllabus exists to keep things focused, fair, and issue free. One could call it a class guide. A well-made syllabus will manage expectations and help maintain a class so that it runs smoothly.
Before eLearners access an online course, ensure that each element of the syllabus matches the course settings and dates in the LMS. This is especially true for grades. Examine course grading criteria as it appears in the syllabus. Match those criteria with the grading settings in the LMS. Is it a weighted grading system, or are points used? Do the percentages on the syllabus add up to 100? What about labels? Are the grading categories identified consistently?
3. Intuitive Navigation
Navigation within apps has come a long way since the days when keyboard commands were used. The mouse and keyboard shortcuts made things easier. Standard website design has created user expectations when visiting sites for the first time. Navigation is easy because other sites navigate similarly.
LMS programmers work hard to keep up with current navigation standards. However, there are settings that the designer can use to keep things running smoothly for the eLearner. It’s possible to adjust the navigation settings. eLearners who find themselves in another window outside the course might wonder how to return to where they left off in the LMS. Reviewing the course flow as an eLearner in a different browser tells us what to adjust. Solutions vary: perhaps a navigation hint may be in order. Or an open link in a new window box should be checked. Look for back-of-house items and modules that were inadvertently published too.
In all cases, every course should have a navigation guide near the syllabus, perhaps within the “start here” module. Learners always welcome navigation tips. We sometimes need assurance and confirmation that we are taking the correct action. When a navigation tip is accompanied by a graphic, such as a question mark or a light bulb, the learner will know where to go to ensure they are going to the correct place.
4. Honest Links
Have you ever clicked on a link to find that it doesn’t work? Imagine you’re an eLearner trying to do your best, and this happens within the course. Outside links can change at any time. Some outside links rarely change, while others change frequently. When reviewing an online course, click each internal and external link. Here, we are not just looking for 404 errors. We’re also confirming that the open website matches what the course content signals. Are the ads appropriate? Does something look off about the site? Yes, links can be broken and fixed, but a deeper examination could reveal more. It’s better to report a concern so it can be checked out rather than just letting it go.
5. Intended Meanings
Sometimes when we read, we come across a sentence or thought that could be taken in a couple of ways. Proper grammar and punctuation allow us to precisely convey our intended idea. Precise writing is especially important for those whose first language is not used in the course. Still, there are many writing styles, and many outstanding and well-made courses may benefit from a fun-to-read, somewhat familiar tone.
Nevertheless, it’s crucial to review instructions. Here we’re examining guidance, hints, and other material accompanying the course content. For example, is the sentence mentioning one chapter when it’s clear that the intended chapter is different? Human eyes can pick up many things even as Artificial Intelligence becomes mainstream. Still, be on the lookout for grammar errors and typos.
6. Meet Presentation Location Expectations
That’s a tongue twister. Are the online course presentations located where they are expected to be? The development of an online course can be a complex process. According to sound theory and proven models, specific elements and tasks must be implemented. Online courses can have many images and files, with each having its designated location within the course. It’s inevitable that even after multiple reviews, one of these may find itself in the wrong location. Here it’s best to check each module presentation for intended placement. The module introduction will usually inform the eLearner what chapters are being studied. For example, module 3, lesson 2, might be chapter 15. The eLearner is expecting to see a chapter 15 presentation. Open the file and observe that a chapter 15 presentation does indeed display. This must be done for each presentation.
As courses go through various iterations, improvements are made. Many of these items will be found and adjusted. Still, they are high-value, low-hanging fruit that, when fixed, provide the eLearner with an improved learning experience.