Using human-centered design in e-learning
The cons of e-learning
Some organisations may be cautious about e-learning for the following reasons:
· The technology, the user interface and the design of the content are important in deciding whether an e-learning course is successful because it can’t always rely on an instructor to engage students.
· With e-learning you don’t always get to see the live reactions of the students to check if they are engaged or bored with the content.
· Technology and e-learning are rapidly changing everyday so knowing which design principles to stick with can be a challenge for e-learning designers.
· Without a schedule or routine, some e-learners can quickly fall behind.
· Not everyone has computer proficiency.
How they can be overcome with Human-Centered Design
Rather than using these barriers as reasons to not adopt e-learning as a path to professional development for your employees, I think they’re justification for taking a human-centered approach to designing e-learning courses.
The international design firm Ideo describes human-centered design as a “process [that] starts with the people you’re designing for and ends with solutions that are tailor made to suit their needs.”
If we measure the success of a product by whether it’s widely adopted by it’s target audience, then we should consult and collaborate with that audience in the design process.
Top tips for using a Human-centered design approach
Observation and Research
When commissioning a team of designers or asking your in-house team to build an e-learning tool the first thing they should do is observe who is going to use it and complete in-depth research.
Even when you’re not intentionally observing your target audience for ideas, sometimes you can still think up fantastic new ones while spending time with them.
For example the COO Taryl Law and CPO Tom Casson of How Do I? both worked for the Swiss Cottage School, which is an outstanding institution for children with complex learning difficulties.
By learning about the children’s needs and working with them on a day-to-day basis, they were able to create a video learning tool that allows children and adults with learning disabilities to pick up new skills. Watch the video below to see more:
The app not only provides a great resource for people with learning disabilities, but can be a good way for everyone to learn by seeing and doing, as that’s the best way we learn.
And once you have figured out the needs of your audience, you can create learner personas to help your design team stay focused – click here to learn more about what these are and how to create them.
Your target audience’s involvement in the design shouldn’t stop at the research phase of the project. For example, if you want to make your e-learning content accessible – ask a wide-range of people with disabilities or those who would find using technology difficult to test out your e-learning product on their own devices. This will help you spot inaccessible features or barriers to learning early on in the design process and will make your e-learning product more user friendly.
Craig Abbott, Senior Interaction Designer at DWP Digital, stressed in his presentation about ‘Empathy in Accessibility’, that this was important because what may work on your devices may not work on another, so you may find that you need to go back and make changes to your e-learning course before you implement it.
Drop us a line on firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more about how human centered design can improve your e-learning tools.
ZEINAB ALI – DIGITAL MARKETING AND PROJECT ASSISTANT FOR HOW DO I?
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