Standardize your eLearning Content
Today’s post comes from guest blogger, Dalene Leach. We continue to build on our mission of helping you start off the new year focused on your professional development needs by sharing our experiences and knowledge with you.
Dalene is our Support and Solutions Specialist. In addition to 30 years of experience training and supporting law firm users, she holds an eLearning Instructional Design Certification at the University of California, Irvine and using TutorAuthor NG for her practicum project.
If you author your own eLearning content, have you put standards in place? Having a consistent look and feel helps the learner know what to look for and know when they are expected to perform an action. Whether you use TutorAuthor NG or Live Content Studio (or another authoring tool), here are some standards to consider:
Brand the Title (first) and Closing (last) instruction/frame Create a standard look with your firm or training department logo.
Instruction box position Decide where any instructions will be placed on the frame/window.
Instruction Border, Toolbar, and Background colors (if applicable) Use colors that work with your firm colors.
Content Navigation buttons Choose the button label users are most comfortable using to navigate content: Back, Next, Close or icons such as >, <, X.
Default Font/Font Size Use consistent fonts and font sizes throughout your content.
Formatting of user interactions Set out the instructions users will perform using special formatting and consistent language. (Such as “Using the right-click method, apply ‘Bold’ to the selected text”)
Formatting of terms, functions, and/or commands Determine if you will use formatting to identify terms, function or commands, such as ‘Bold’ or ‘Paragraph dialog box,’ surrounded by single quotes or colored text.)
Identify any special setup or technical requirements Create a standard instruction/frame with that information.
Provide directions for the user Create an instruction/frame with Instructions to the user stating what they can expect to see and how to navigate your content.
Terminology standards Should the term “right-click” be hyphenated or not? (It should be.) You might want to invest in the book, “Microsoft Manual of Style” by Microsoft Corporation from Microsoft Press (available on Amazon).
And finally, do you want to consider differences in standards for learning content vs. assessment content?
When making decisions, DOCUMENT them in a standards document so that all team members use the same guidelines. Users shouldn’t be able to distinguish which author developed the content!
Developing standards give your content consistency and allows you to easily and efficiently create learning content by eliminating the need to think about each of these items every time you start a new piece of content.