Some Thoughts on Course Organization & Navigation

It is important to organize the structure and navigation of an instructional unit to enable the learner to read and review the instructional content in a short time as well as take advantage of any links, graphics, or animations that support learning the content.

For effective structure and navigation:

  • Minimize the need for the learner to scroll through text. A printed instructional unit should not exceed two pages.
  • When using Course Management System templates remove navigation buttons that will not be used in your course.
  • Use graphics, diagrams, or pictures only when they lend meaning and clarification to the topic (in some cases, graphics can also be used to get the learner's attention -- but do not over use them because they can become annoying distractions).
  • For ease of navigation, provide a link to the next unit or interactive exercise at the end of an instructional module.
  • Hyperlink all key words, phrases, and/or concepts within the instructional unit to some type of glossary or reference that provides definitions and additional clarification as needed by the learner.

Keep in mind that simple, clear navigation will help the learner feel in control, avoiding distractions and frustrations with the course materials.