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Why Optimising the Navigation of Your E-Learning Courses is Important

Damian Hehire-learning

Why Optimising the Navigation of Your E-Learning Courses is Important

The content of your e-learning course is the most crucial element, but you should never underestimate the importance of navigation.

Navigational elements are a key part of the learner experience. These elements include buttons that enable the learner to move forward or back, as well as elements that learners use when completing a task such as making decisions in a scenario, playing a video, or answering questions in a quiz.

In an upcoming blog, we will cover tips that will help you optimise the navigation in your e-learning courses.

However, this optimisation work takes time and effort. This all too often results in the navigational structure and design being thrown together.

So, in this blog, we’ll outline why optimising the navigation of your e-learning courses is important.

Let’s start with what happens when your e-learning courses have badly structured and/or badly presented navigation.

The Problem with Bad Navigation in E-Learning

When learners get stuck because of the navigation structure/elements in your e-learning course, several negative outcomes can occur. Those negative outcomes include:

  • Poor navigation can mean it takes learners longer to complete the course than it should.
  • Poorly structured navigation can also confuse learners which, in turn, can impact learning outcomes.
  • Navigation problems can make learners feel frustrated
  • Following on from the above point, feeling frustrated as a result of bad navigation is particularly problematic with learners who don’t like or feel confident using technology. This is because they can blame themselves when they get stuck as a result of bad navigation, even when it’s not their fault. This sets their confidence in the technology as well as the topic of the e-learning module back even further.
  • If learners are focused on trying to figure out what they are expected to do next, they are not focused on the content of the course. This can prevent you from achieving your training objectives.

So, as you can see, good navigation in e-learning courses is really important. While there are benefits to optimising navigation, preventing the above negative outcomes of poor navigation is reason enough.

What is Good Navigation?

Before going on, let’s briefly define what good navigation looks like:

  • Includes nothing that gets in the way of a learner moving from one slide to the next
  • Includes nothing that presents a challenge to the learner when moving from one slide to the next
  • It should be intuitive and require little or no explanation, i.e. it should be obvious
  • For more complex slides, including those with interactive elements, any explanatory tips you include should themselves be obvious and self-explanatory
  • A navigational path should never bring a learner to a dead end

Structure and Presentation

You should also remember that the navigation of your e-learning course has two main elements:

  1. Structure – this is the flow of the slides in addition to how users skip past content, get back to the start of a section, exit the course, etc
  2. Presentation – this is the design of the navigational elements like buttons, links, etc

To ensure your e-learning course has good navigation that enhances the learner experience and facilitates learning, you will need to optimise both the structure of the navigation and how you present this navigation in your course.

If a professional Dubai-based e-learning developer is designing your module, they will look after this for you. However, it’s also helpful that you know the principles of e-learning navigation to ensure your course is as good as it can be.

Benefits of Good Navigation

So, what are the advantages of spending time and effort on the navigation of your e-learning courses?

The main reasons for optimising the navigation of your e-learning course include:

  • Good navigation improves learner engagement as learners can concentrate on the content of your e-learning course. In other words, they can focus on learning rather than trying to figure out what to do next.
  • Well-structured and designed navigation also helps reduce clutter as well as the presentational complexity of the course. Both clutter and presentational complexity are distracting for learners, so clutter-free slides and straightforward presentation is always preferable.
  • Good navigation improves knowledge retention and helps with the learning process. Following on from the points above, this is because learners engage better with the content when they don’t have to deal with navigational distractions. In addition, their efforts will be focused on the skills and knowledge you want them to learn.
  • Good navigation also reduces drop-off rates. After all, if a learner gets stuck or becomes frustrated because of navigation, there is a higher chance they will abandon the learning effort altogether.
  • The learner experience is improved with good navigation as well. Learner experience is a key measurement to determine the success of your e-learning courses. The user interface, which includes navigation, is an important part of this measurement.
  • For all the reasons above, you will get a better return on investment from your e-learning course when it has good navigation.

How to Optimise the Navigation in Your E-Learning Course

Good navigation is essential to the success of your e-learning course, but how do you ensure the navigation is good? In our next blog, we’ll look at key tips to optimise navigation in your e-learning courses.