Principles of Successful E-Learning

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Principles of Successful E-Learning

Before going to bed, I like to read articles in a variety of contents, such as Food & Cooking, Fashion, Technology, Entertainment, E-Learning, Web Design, and Higher Education. I have been really enjoying the Zite app. I encourage iPad users to download and give it a try. It’s a free app, too!

Last night I read an article discussing principles for successful E-Learning. The authors listed 10 principles and provided brief but concise description for each principle. The principles are quite different from the principles I read from the E-Learning and the Science of Instruction book by Clark and Mayer (multimedia, spatial contiguity, temporal contiguity, coherence, modality, redundancy, individual differences, practice, learner control, and professionalization).

The authors of this article pointed out some interesting principles. Those principles are generic and focus more on the pedagogic principles. The principles were defined and proposed by Professors Anderson and McCormick. Ten principles of successful E-Learning are the following:

1. Match to the curriculum – all the activities, assignments, and content should be relevant to course objectives.

2. Inclusion – the pedagogy should be universal design (accessible to broader audiences)

3. Learner engagement – the pedagogy should motivate learners.

4. Innovative approaches – technological tools are implemented to support learning process.

5. Effective learning – the pedagogy should be designed to fit learners’ different learning styles.

6. Formative assessment – the pedagogy should provide formative assessments

7. Summative assessment – the summative assessments must be reliable and comprehensible to instructors, learners, and parents.

8. Coherence, consistency & transparency – the pedagogy must be internally coherent and consistent with the objectives.

9. Ease of use – E-Learning should be easy to use.

10. cost-effectiveness – technology solutions should be affordable and costs sustainable.

You can read the article HERE, or you can download the White Paper here.

In my opinion, based on my experience I have to disagree some of the principles listed above. I’m not sure about the concept and benefit of the principle 6 and 7. Moreover, the principle 8 is redundant – it is similar to the principle 1. However, I do strongly agree with the principle 9 and 10. The E-Learning platform should be easy for learners to use. The platform should also be cost-effective.

US Chamber of Commerce

In addition to those principle listed above and principles proposed by Clark and Mayer, I have my own principles that I used when designing and developing an E-Learning program. My personal principles for successful E-Learning are listed below:

1. Principle of perception – I always cautious about people’s perception. In E-Learning, a lot of time learners interact with a computer and monitor screen. Gestalt principles are often applied to my program interface design to reduce a risk of miscommunication. These principles also help me organize all the design elements and content displayed on the screen in the way that makes senses to the learners.

2. Principle of flexibility – This principle is similar to the principle of learner control, proposed by Clark and Mayer. Most of E-Learning programs are self-pace. It’s very important to design the program that allows learners to start and stop the instruction anytime they want. The E-learning program should provide the learners with a sense of user control and program flexibility. For example, a video or audio clip should have a progressing bar, so the learners can pause or rewind it when they need to.

3. Principle of visualization – This principle is not the same as the principle of perception which deals with content organization. The principle of visualization rather focuses on the look and feel of the program. The multimedia using in an E-Learning program should be clean, consistent, relevant, and high quality. The instructional designers should be cautious about the effects of using colors, graphics, symbols, tables, and other visual displays.

What do you think about my principles of E-Learning? Do you agree or disagree? If you have your own principles, please share!

A Quick Storyboard

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A Quick Storyboard

Did I mention yet how much I love the Zite app on iPad? Zite is the must-have app for iPad users. It’s a personalized e-magazine that will create a collection of content in which you are interested. You can personally customize the content that you would like to read. It could be any topic content, such as food, fashion, higher education, web design, social media, etc. And, yes, Zite is a FREE app!

So, a few days ago I read the article, The Art of Storyboard, from the Zite. The author emphasized the usefulness of the storyboard for e-Learning project development. He used three analogies for viewing the storyboard as a tool, an art, and a project. I also view the step of storyboard development as an important step when I worked on any such projects as websites, computer-based programs, and multimedia presentations. I create storyboards for almost everything.

To me, a storyboard helps me organize ideas in my head, create a visual prototype, plan an interface design, and convey my thoughts and ideas to other team members and clients. Also, a storyboards is like a business plan but  in an informal visual aid. So, without a plan any project can easily become chaotic. As an Instructional Designer and training platform developer, when designing an e-learning project, I used the storyboard to plan, design, and control the program structure, navigation, interaction design, multimedia placement, and scripts. It sounds a lot of work but necessary to plan them all out before the development starts. The storyboard needs to have enough details in order to allow other team members to see a big picture and the design details, as well as to keep everyone on the same page.

A storyboard can be created quickly and easily using common software application, such as MS Word, PowerPoint and Adobe Photoshop. I used Photoshop to design a mock-up program interface. Photoshop allows me to select a color scheme very quickly. You can also design a program background and navigation buttons in Photoshop. Then, I brought all the design elements into MS PowerPoint to figure out the placements of buttons, texts, video clips, and graphics. It’s easier to go through each slide in PowerPoint when you are dealing with multiple pages/screens. If you have a narration script to go with each screen, you can put the text under the Note section for each slide. Also, you can create internal links to jump among pages/screens, so you can design the program navigation and interaction. If you have any media that going to be used in the program, you can import to the Powerpoint too.

Remember that the storyboard is just a prototype or mockup version of your project. You should not spend too much time to make everything look perfect, but you should cover all essential design elements so that you can visualize what the final project is going to look like. Some people even create a storyboard by sketching everything on a piece of paper. I think that’s OK too, but it might not be effective when you have several people working in the team and trying to figure out what you wrote and what you drew. In addition, it’s a lot easier to archive and treat the storyboard as a design document if you put everything in digital format using MS Words, PowerPoint, and Photoshop.

I hope this post would help you realize how important the storyboard is and provide you with small tips about the tools I used to create a quick storyboard. If you have any questions and would like to know more, leave me a comment!

Note: Images used in this post retrieved from Google.