Creative eLearning. Ideas for creating an index

Creative eLearning is a series of short articles with the idea of sharing concepts for creating eLearning courses differents from the ones that we are used to or we use to create by our own. Today I’m focusing on something very basic such as the index of contents. After developing some courses, don’t you feel all of them starts in the same way? would you like to try another ways to present the table of contents of a course? Here I’m sharing some thoughts or ideas with the hope of inspiring you for your upcoming developments.

How does the index normally look like?

After developing some courses and after being a student as well I’ve realized that most of the elearning modules have the index at the left side of the screen and the user can navigate throughout the content.

Here we have two examples that follows this structure. The first one is a module created using eXe learning, an open source author tool. The process of creating content with this tool is pretty straight forward, however, the structure remains always the same so once you create one course the others are pretty similar.

In the second example we have another elearning module created using Articulate, a proprietary authoring tool that shows the index at the left side of the content.

So I thought, why should every course has to present the content in the same way?

 Example 1  Example 2
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Why do we have to break the tradition?

The number of people enrolled in an elearning course is growing. Therefore, the number of opportunities to surprise them  falls slightly as every course is presented in a similar way.

After the introduction of the course, the index is another element that must cause impact to the learner or at least we have to think how to raise his/her curiosity to the content.

Introducing the content in a different format can help to catch the attention of the student and contributes to his/her interest of the content. (Well… at least at the beginning of the course).

Some ideas for creating an index

The index should include information about:

  • The different topics of the course
  • Sequentiality if any
  • The lenght

Here I’m sharing some thoughts about how to create a different way to present the index. These concepts follow these principles:

  • Avoid the left side structure.
  • Must be interactive.
  • Must be visual to grab learners attention.
  • Must provide an overview of the table of contents, a kind of guide before getting access to the content.

Introducing the content in a different format can help to catch the attention of the student and contributes to his/her interest of the content.

First idea. Using grid concepts

In this example I take advantage of the grid concept to create the index. Here you can see different images that illustrates the content of each section. The user when hovers its mouse on them the image flips and shows the backside and a brief description of the topic.

In this case the user can navigate freely within the course.

Segunda idea. Utilizando el concepto de grids

Second idea. The learning as a path

In this sec on example the idea is to illustrate the learning as a path. The arrows indicates the sequence of the contents giving a visual idea about where to start and how the learner is expect to continue the study of the contents.

Segunda idea. El aprendizaje representado en un camino

Third idea. The content viewed in a map

As you can see I get inspired by Google Maps. When you look for a place in Google Maps the location is highlighted in the map, you can click or tap on the icon and pop ups a brief information about the place. Sometimes there’s also links to pictures. In the left side of the menu you can find further information about the place. Adopting this concept here’s how I thought it could be the index.

Tercera idea. Los conceptos representados en un mapa

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