The two-dimensional world of the computer’s display prohibits exploration of an e-learning application in the ways we naturally like to explore things. We can’t evaluate an e-learning application by touching the screen, for example. When we touch the monitor, we feel only the monitor and nothing of the application. We can’t lift the application to see how heavy it is or measure it to determine its size.
We can’t run a finger over an e-learning application to feel its texture. We can’t tell if it’s smooth and refined, or rough and ill fitting. Taste and smell don’t help. There are no telltale noises to suggest a well-engineered design or a cheap chassis. We’re often stuck with only our sight to evaluate them.
Unfortunately, we can’t see anything of an application other than what the designers and programmers chose to reveal. And although navigation is only one component of an e-learning application, it is the component that controls the learner’s ability to size up an application. It is the component that determines the learner’s ability to explore, and the ability to control the application for personal needs.
Learners are sometimes so controlled by e-learning applications that they feel victimized. They have few options, if any, beyond how to answer questions. Learners can perform the next step put in front of them or quit—and that’s it.
Good navigation does just the reverse. It provides learners as many controls as is reasonably possible, ...