The Science Behind Effective eLearning Design

World of Technology Trends

A design, in general, is never random. It is purely a product of intention, plan and choice. It is always good to put in effort to make an appealing design, but at the same time, one needs to make sure that the design is effective and practical.
No matter how beautiful the design is, but if it does not communicate with the target audience, it would not be of any use.
If you learn about the science behind effective eLearning design, you would be able to communicate with your learners and help the understand more about your subject, change their perceptions and their way of thinking.

Characteristics of a Good eLearning Design
If you think colors, imagery, contrast, fonts and shapes are the only parameters that help you judge a design’s appeal, you need to stop thinking that way. There are other things that add more to a design’s appeal.

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Puso o Isip?

Pusong iniingatan, nasaan ka na?
Bakit nawala ka sa dati mong kinalalagyan
Bakit nga ba tumatalon ka na lamang nang biglaan?

Nandito lang ako, sabi ng puso ko
Nakatingin, nakatitig, nag-aabang
Nararamdaman ko ang nais mong ipaalam
Pero may pagkakataong ang paghihintay
ang isang bagay na dapat ipaglaban.

Maghintay ka!, sabi ng isip ko
Alam mo namang sa pagmamadali, walang
magandang kahihinatnan
Lahat ng bagay, may tamang panahon
Sa bawat panahon, may nararapat kang matutunan at ipangalandakan.

Puso:
Ngunit bakit ganito, hindi ko maipaliwanag aking nadarama
Sa isang banda, nais ko sya’y laging makasama
Sa bawat sandali na nais ko syang makita
Tanging ninanais ay lubos ko syang makilala.

 

Isip:
Minsan, puso, ika’y mapanlinlang
Minsan mo na akong dinaya sa iyong mga nararamdaman
Ngayong may pagkakataong ihayag ko ang aking mga ideya
Di ko na hahayaang masaktan pa sya
Sapagkat, ikaw puso, at sya na ating pagkatao,
ay nais kong maging masaya.

 

Puso:
Isang beses lamang ako nagkamali, isip
Sa dinami dami ng ating pinagdaanan
Hindi mo ba hahayaang ang ating mahal na pagkatao ay tuluyang maging maligaya?

 

Isip:
Sa isang pagkakamali mo, puso
Natutunan kong maging malakas
Natutunan kong unahin muna ang sarili ko
Sa bawat pagkakamali na nagawa mo
Hindi lang ikaw ang nasasaktan, pati ako
Sa bawat pagkakamali mo, lagi mong tatandaan
Ang aking mga natutunan ang syang magbibigay
direksyon sa iyong tatahaking daanan
Puso:
Tama ka, isip, hahayaan kitang mag-isip
Pero hindi mo mapipigilan, aking nadarama kahit isang saglit
Pag-ibig na syang kakaiba
Alam mo namang hinahanap-hanap ko na.

Isip:
Mas makabubuting hindi tayo magtalo
Bagkus, hayaan natin sya sa kanyang mga plano
Kung may balanse sa iyong damdamin at sa aking ideya
Sigurado, pag-ibig na wagas at tunay, kanya nang madarama.

 

Pagkatao:
O puso at isip, hindi ko alam sino ang susundin sa inyo
Isa lamang ang alam ko, naguguluhan ako
Sino ba dapat ang pakinggan, si isip o si puso
Para maramdamang tunay
ang pagmamahal na kay tagal nang hinintay?
Tama! Isa lamang ang alam ko na dapat gawin
Sa Maykapal, siguradong ako’y diringgin
Hahayaan ang puso maramdaman ang sarap ng pag-ibig
Hahayaan ang isip magsabi ng dapat gawin
Ngunit sa lahat ng ito, hahayaang ang Maykapal ang magdikta ng aking damdamin.

Ngayon alam ko na
Hindi na ako magugulumihanan pa
Puso man o isip ang syang paiiralin
Kung ang Maykapal ang may huling salita
Sa aking mahal, ako’y lubusang mamahalin.

Subject-Verb Agreement

Back in college, we write so many reflection papers, essays, and submission articles. Our grade does not only rely on the substancial content but also on its structure. Thus, knowing the basic of all — the subject and verb agreement, is very essential.

I came across on my high school handouts on the subject-verb agreement and I think keeping a copy here in my hub might just help. This is a version I’ve paraphrased then according to my understanding so it would be easy to memorize. 🙂

1. A singular subject takes a singular verb; a plural subject takes a plural verb.
Ex. John skips meals.

2. The number of the subject is not changed by a prepositional phrase after the subject.
Ex. One of the delagates comes from Mindanao.

3. The following indefinite pronouns are singular: each, either, neither, one, everybody, no one, nobody, anyone, anybody, someone, somebody.
Ex. Everyone seems fulfilled.

4. The words a few, many, both, several take plural verbs.
Ex. Several men are in the office.

5. When the words some, any, none and all are followed by a phrase, the verb agrees with the phrase.
Ex. Some of the food was served.
       Some of the children are playing.

6. Nouns plural in form but singular in meaning such as physics, economics, mathematics, measles, civics, news, etc. take singular verb.
Ex. Mathematics is our subject.

7. Agreement with compound subjects:

a. A compund subject connected by and generally takes plural verb.
Ex. My bestfriend and my nephew visit me everyday.

b. Compound subjects that are closely related or that refer to the same person or thing take a singular verb.
Ex. Paper and ballpen comes in handy together.

c. A compound subject involving the use of each or every takes a singular verb.
Ex. Every man and woman has the ability to forgive others.

d. Compound subjects joined by either-or and neither-nor take singular verbs depending upon the nearer subject.
Ex. Either the students or the teacher complains to the school administration.

8. Intervening words like together with, in addition to, as well as, including and similar constructions following the subject do not affect the number of the subject.
Ex. Mrs. Tina Pakan, together with her children, has left for Brgy. Dinaanan.

9. Words or phrases expressing periods of time, weights, measurement and amounts of money are usually regarded as singular.
Ex. Five pesos is enough to buy some bread.

10. Fractions may take singular or plural verbs depending on the of-phrase.
Ex. Three-halves of the beans were cooked.

11.Collective nouns take singular verbs when they are used to denote a unit; they take plural verbs when used to refer to the individual members of the group.
Ex. The family is leaving for abroad.
      The family are discussing departure plans.

12. When the subject and the predicate noun are of different numbers, the verb agrees with the subject, not the predicate noun.
Ex. The ship’s cargo was pineapples.
       Pineapples were the ship’s cargo.

13. The expression the number takes a singular verb; the expression a number takes a plural verb.
Ex. The number of students is big.
      A number of rebellions were on guard.

14. The title of a book, even when plural in form, takes a singular verb.
Ex. Origin of Species is a book written by Charles Darwin.

15. There is/was; Here is/was is followed by a singular noun. There are/were; Here are/were is followed by a plural noun.
Ex. There is a God that sees all.
      There are books that are not worth reading.

Reference: Prentice-Hall, Inc (2004). Grammar and Composition 4. Pearson Education South Asia Pte. Ltd., Jurong, Singapore.

Feeding my eLearning Interest

Technology plus learning equals eLearning.

Ever since college, I have this penchant for anything multimedia used for learning purposes. Anything that will lead me to developing eLearning materials, I’ve tried. When opportunity came to work as a school eLearning specialist at the field, and now product development specialist of elearning products, this interest shoot skyward.

I’ve been reading posts from elearningindustry.com and subscribed to feeds related to eLearning. I’ve also volunteered when training opportunities for Adobe Captivate 8 at the office came. Though I was not able to practice what I’ve learned during that hands-on training, I was able to use that pre-existing knowledge to self-study Articulate Storyline; thus, my first project entitled Workplace Compliance using the basic commands was conceived. You can check the project description and demo here.

Workplace Compliance
Workplace Compliance

Just a quick comparison between Adobe Captivate 8 and Articulate Storyline, they both adhere to providing interactivity to eLearning courses, aside from the fact that both are easy to use (for Adobe Captivate, if you have experience using Adobe tools and for Articulate Storyline, for those with MS Powerpoint experience). However, between the two, I like Articulate Storyline better with the ease of use and the community always available for support. I guess Adobe Captivate support for development of responsive eLearning (mobile, tablet, desktop) just takes Articulate Storyline a notch higher when it comes to features, though Storyline published content can be viewed for HTML5, andriod and iOS devices.

Going back, I usually do the following to further fuel my eLearning interest:

1)Read feeds related to eLearning. Just a year ago, I subscribed to elearningindustry.com and receive feeds everyday about the latest trends in the elearning sector. I’ve set my email client to automatically filter all the feeds to a folder and everyday,I set aside time to read on any new blogs that would enhance my knowledge about elearning. I also subscribe to other feeds from astd.org, elearningexamples.com and blogs with #elearning.

2)Invest and acquire books about elearning. In today’s world, it’s easy to acquire a book, either the physical one or the electronic type (ebook). As of the moment, the only hard copy of a book I have is Learning Articulate Storyline by Stephanie Harnett and so far, I recommend this book to those new to learning Articulate Storyline. As far as the concepts will be taken into consideration, I’ve downloaded several free ebooks from www.comlabindia.com, elearningindustry.com and iadl.org.uk that you can check out.

3)Surround yourself with people talking and practicing eLearning. In my case, I am exposed to eLearning through my workplace, where basically, part of my job is to write about elearning products and develop them. In your case, you can take advantage of the internet to do that. You can join forums on elearning, follow elearning professionals via the social media, and take part in communities that advance eLearning in your area.

4)Practice being the eLearning enthusiast that you are. One effective way to learn about something is to practice it. That’s what I’ve done so far. I’ve indulged myself in creating an elearning course to literally apply what I’ve learned. It doesn’t matter if you’re just good at one area: writing, or editing, or developing elearning courses. What matters most is that you learn and you practice what you’ve learned. You can also join #ELHChallenges at elearning heroes to build up your portfolio. The submitted demos for each challenge are really awesome that qliterally, it inspires me to be better at the courses I create.

5)Talk about eLearning. If you are interested about something (or someone), you talk about it (or him/her), right? Same with eLearning. As you learn more, share your knowledge to other people. It will not only allow you to reflect what you’ve learned but also give back to the community that helped you out when starting out to know more about eLearning. In my case, I use my blog mainly in sharing each learning nugget that I chew on.

So there. As a beginner in eLearning, learn, share what you learn and allow others to learn, just like what I’m doing. In this industry, that passion to learn more is the true foundation of being successful and being able to help others learn 🙂

Design Principles for eLearning Designers

Sharing to you one infographic I find helpful in the project I’m currently working on. 🙂 This post originally appeared in info.shiftelearning.com and tells about the Design Principles that eLearning designers should know.

Design Theories and Principles That eLearning Designer Should Know Infographic
Find more education infographics on e-Learning Infographics

Design Theories and Principles That eLearning Designers Should Know

C.R.A.P. for Effective Visual Design

The 4 basic principles present in every eLearning design can be abbreviated to CRAP.
Contrast
Any two items that are not exactly the same should be very different.
Repetition
eLearning designers should repeat certain design elements throughout the course.
Alignment
Different aspects of the design should line up in columns, rows, and along a centerline.
Proximity
Developers should group related items together.

Gestalt for Coherence
There are 6 principles of Gestalt, which work together to ensure learners form a positive opinion about the design from the first glance. These principles are:
Similarity
Elements that are similar to one another merge into groups almost automatically.
Proximity
The idea that when learners sees several objects arranged together, they perceive these objects as belonging to a group.
Closure
The mind fills incomplete space with the missing information.
Simplicity
The mind will attempt to turn visual chaos into something more simple and understandable.
Continuation
The human eye naturally wants to move from one object to another.
Symmetry and order
The mind tries to perceive objects as symmetrical and based around a central point. This is because it makes sense to perceptually divide objects evenly and turn random, unconnected items into something understandable.

Dieter Rams’s Principles of Good Design
In the early 1980s, Dieter Rams set out the following 10 principles:

Good Design Is Innovative
Innovative design has the element of surprise, which stops students from becoming bored and improves learners’ ability to encode new information.

Good Design Makes a Product Useful
Learners must find content useful to find value in it. Without perceived usefulness, students will learn very little.

Good Design Is Aesthetic
Aesthetics go hand in hand with usefulness. A course must be appealing in order for users to want to spend time with the content.

Good Design Makes a Product Understandable
The “product” in this sense is the eLearning course. It should consist of content relevant to learners’ needs by taking into account the skills students currently possess while providing learners with material that will lead them to obtaining the knowledge they desire.

Good Design Is Unobtrusive
Courses are tools to fulfill a purpose; therefore, eLearning design must be unobtrusive to leave room for self-expression.

Good Design Is Honest
Modules and objectives must all promise only what they can actually offer learners. When eLearning design ensures that expectations are met, students will have set their expectations for the program accurately and will experience no let down.

Good Design Is Long Lasting
By avoiding the latest trends and fads, a course will never become outdated. Although the developer can refine the information, there will never be any need to start over completely.

Good Design Is Thorough Down to the Last Detail
Nothing about an eLearning design should be arbitrary or left to chance. Instead, every detail should be planned to meet users’ needs and desires.

Good Design Is Environmentally Friendly
The design of any product should contribute to the preservation of the environment by conserving resources as far as possible and minimizing both physical and visual pollution. In terms of an eLearning course, this means improving the learning environment of the students and creating no extra noise or pollution for learners.

Good Design Is as Little Design as Possible
Developers should focus on just the most essential aspects of the course to make it as good as it can possibly be. Adhering to this rule of simplicity ensures that learners only receive as much material as they can absorb.