by Kristin Isler, Product Development Coordinator
It might be a little late in the year for Spring cleaning, but organizing your online learning environment is important any time of year. We often create a learning environment with a specific structure in mind, only to find that as it grows and expands, maintaining that structure becomes extremely complicated. Not only can this problem affect site administrators but it can have an impact on learners as well. It’s hard to learn if you can’t find the information you need.
Never fear! Remote Learner deploys many solutions that can help you to keep your site clean and your users happy.
Site Information and Navigation – Altitude Theme
As instructors, we want to give learners as much information as possible to give them the best chance at a successful learning experience. The problem occurs when we try to give it to them all at once. This can cause a cognitive overload where learners have so many options they lose the ability to determine which one is the best.
A well designed theme can keep your front page and overall site structure clean and organized. At Remote Learner, our original Altitude theme is utilizes persuasive design strategies, including Reduction, which calls for making it as simple as possible for a learner to do what you want them to do. For example, a slideout panel can be used to store blocks that may not be needed often so that users can concentrate on the content provided.
Course Content Structure – OneTopic and Grid Course Formats
Designing a course is a little bit like designing a house. You need a floor plan that meets the needs of the people that live there. The same is true for an online course. Keeping a course clean and organized makes it easier for learners to focus on the content without being distracted by other information on the page.
The Remote Learner design team has two favorite plugins that help with the “floor plan” for your course. The OneTopic Format is great for keeping users focused on the content within each section of the course, since only one topic (section) is shown at a time. With Altitude enhancements, the sections are shown as tabs in a vertical list down the left side, keeping the course compact and easy to navigate.
The Grid Format uses a more visual approach to course formatting with each section displayed as a tile where an image can be displayed. Selecting the image allows the content to show in a pop-up modal, again keeping the user focused on just one section. This is a great format for larger courses where the images are easy to associate with the content.
User Creation and Update – Data Hub
Outdated user information can cause problems for learners and increase support requests. Incorrect email addresses make resetting a password difficult and can result in frustrated users of all levels. But keeping users updated is a manual task that falls on either site administrators or the user and can take up time that is better allocated for other tasks.
Data Hub, another Remote Learner original, allows users to be bulk created and updated by uploading a .csv file of user information directly to the site. Not only does this plugin help keep users up-to-date, it can help with course creation and enrollment as well.
Site Backups and Archiving – Backtrack
Sometimes a site can get cluttered because there is a lot of data that you don’t need…but you might need it later. This fear of losing what you would prefer to just put in storage can result in a bloated site and performance issues, among other challenges.
If your site is large and you’re ready to archive some of your data, Remote Learner can help. Backtrack takes regular snapshots of your site, any of which can be saved by a site administrator as an archive instance that can be restored at any time. With easy access to archives, site administrators can feel free to keep their online learning environments organized, clean, and clutter-free.
If you make something simple to do, learners are more likely to do it. It’s important to keep your site simple and organized and Remote Learner is here to help. If you’d like more information on these tools or other ways in which we can help you with the organization of your site, please contact your Account Manager today.