Guidelines for E-Learning

Points

Here are a list of points that may be useful for the designers and developers of e-learning resources:

  1. Small chunks of information: When demonstrating a specific concept keep the number of items small (less than 5) and only present information that can be comprehended within one minute.

  2. Explain the meaning of something that is to be learnt.

  3. Elaborate the descriptions (with more small chunks of information)

  4. An emotional stimulus helps to store memories.

  5. Organise the information:

    • order from simple to complex concepts
    • Flex-Ability Learning: design for a diverse range of students with varying intellect and knowledge of the topic
  6. Engage students in interactions that require a degree of effort from them.

  7. Space rehersals over a period of time.
  8. Suggest the student suspends their study at certain points throughout the material (or after, say, 50 minutes of learning) and goes away to do something unrelated to the learning.

  9. Provide simulations that deliver information in small chunks.

  10. Try to motivate the student.

  11. Encourage the student to reflect on their learning.
  12. If appropriate to the group, course and task then consider using social networking / social learning.

  13. Present information effectively
  14. Explicitly test the following (perhaps in separate stages):

  • memory / knowledge - recall of the information taught
  • understanding - applying their understanding to new scenarios

Process

The e-learning process may include the following steps:

  • Show the student a chunk of new information
  • Refresh: repeat the information (or at least a summary)
  • Optionally, test memory recall
  • Develop understanding by providing the student with examples
  • Test understanding

Between each of the above steps it may be suggested that the students pauses from the learning activity and takes a break.


Student asks:

"So how are you going to cram that e-learning content into my head?
 - With a funnel and a flippin' plunger?"



The above diagram shows an information cloud raining into a funnel and filling the student's head.  The steps include the following:
  • The student's short-term memory is exposed to information.  Some of that information leaks out and is not retained.  The more information we pour into the student's head in one go, the more leaks out.
  • Some of the information gets locked into long-term memory; and the pause/refresh step helps improve the effectiveness of this.
  • Examples of a concept help the student to develop their understanding.
  • The student's understanding is tested.

Example