Designing a course is no piece of cake. It is a specialized skill that needs in-depth knowledge of tailoring a course. Apart from wearing many hats the designer has to achieve the perfect balance between technical limitationsand user friendliness, while being careful not to compromise on the most important goal of imparting education. As you read further, you will find out the skills you need as an instructional designer and the critical role an instructional designer (ID) plays in creating a successful course.
Definitions and theories notwithstanding, errors often creep in, thus leading to sub-optimal or even failed learning outcomes. Some details may seem irrelevant, but ignoring them during the process of designing may lead to wasted resources – meaning time and money. E-Learning as we know comes with its own set of challenges and limitations. So care has to be taken to deliver solutions that will translate to real learning.
Listed below are some common mistakes found in a learning management system (LMS) at the time of designing the course:
- Inadequate flexibility – More often than not, LMS’ suffer from infrastructure rigidities that inhibit learning because the experience isn’t smooth and seamless. The goal of eLearning is to not just replicate classroom learning on the web, but also elevate the quality of learning by using technology. However, a poor LMS interface may not even be able to replicate the kind of social interaction and learning functions that happen in real life, let alone improve upon them.
- Ambiguous navigation – Have you ever been lost while browsing a website? Unclear navigation pathways are a bane. Poor navigation in an LMS not only erodes interest by making eLearning seem cumbersome (think of the not-so tech savvy population), but it also confuses learners about where they are in a course and how much more they must do. Navigation must be so designed as to enable learners to develop mind maps as they progress in their eLearning courses.
- Not entirely learner friendly – Learning styles are different and so are the learning needs. The way visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learners perceive, process, and retain information is different. This is why it is important for the ID to shed biases and preconceived notions in designing courses as well as the LMS interface.
- Inability to adapt and evolve – At a time when new technologies are emerging and being implemented into the mainstream at the speed of light, an LMS that hasn’t been programmed to allow changes will suffer a blow every now and then. The end result? Investment in learning is futile and environment conducive to learning is lacking.
Hence, the need for a qualitative LMS using the best technology cannot be emphasized more.
You have now noted some of the key obstacles in an LMS that can ruin user experience and quality of learning. How about sharing experiences to underscore the importance of an effective LMS? Feel free to comment below.
Design for Learning: Break It Down Into Recognizable Elements by Susan Smith Nash