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Designing Web-Based Training: How to Teach Anyone Anything Anywhere Anytime by William Horton

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6.18. Simplify activities

The simpler an activity, the more time learners spend learning and the less time they spend figuring out how to perform the activity. Simplify the parts of the activity that are simple in real life. Focus learners' efforts on the hard real-life decisions built into the activity.

6.18.1. Keep instructions visible

If an activity is complex, leave the instructions displayed throughout. Position instructions so they do not scroll off the screen as the learner performs the activity. If the instructions for an assignment are complex or involve interacting with the screen, format them for paper and encourage learners to print them out.

6.18.2. Make finding resources easy

Unless you are teaching learners to find resources, make resources easy to find. Otherwise learners may spend too much time searching for information and too little time learning from it. Here are some ways to help learners locate materials, arranged from least challenging to most challenging for the learner:

  • Provide the data for learners. Prune and organize it so that theneeded information is easy to extract.

  • Link to a source that features the needed information. Give learners words they can use to search for the needed content.

  • Link to an intranet or Web site on which learners find the information themselves.

  • Link to multiple sources that together provide all the needed information.

  • Specify a search service and keywords to conduct a search for pages that may contain the information. "Search ...

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