Next buttons are gatekeepers
If there's one area in course design that gets abused more than others, it's the Next button. Whether you’re locking, hiding, disabling, or disguising it, the next button is the gatekeeper to course content.
Learners click the Next button repeatedly to move from one slide to the next. That’s a lot of repetition that could be applied to learning rather than navigating.
Reinforcing content through repetition
Course designers know how important repetition is to learning. So do advertisers. That’s why advertisers are redesigning CAPTCHA boxes into brand reinforcement opportunities.
Instead of using CAPTCHA as a gatekeeper to verify the user is a human, marketers are leveraging CAPTCHA to reinforce brand message and recall through repetition.
Opportunities for course designers
Course designers can use apply similar strategies to assist learning recall by making the Next button memorable.
Let’s say a 30-slide course contains 30 Next buttons where each button is locked until the learner views the complete slide. That’s 30 mouse clicks to navigate from one slide to the next… Or it’s 30 opportunities for the learner to summarize or practice a slide’s key concepts.
CAPTCHA + Next button = NEXTCHA
Two types of NEXTCHA activities for e-learning
Here are two ideas for incorporating NEXTCHA activities in your online courses. Both examples leverage text entry fields to capture learner feedback.
The most popular solution that asks learners to summarize a slide or series of slides before moving on. If a learner can’t answer correctly, they’re asked to repeat the slide.
This variation gives learners the opportunity to test out of a slide by answering the slide’s key content at the beginning.
Final note about using NEXTCHA in your courses
Using NEXTCHA for every slide is just as obnoxious as locking the Next button on every slide. NEXTCHA won’t make a boring course more engaging. The key is to look for meaningful ways to incorporate NEXTCHA into your course designs.
If that sounds easier said than done, then we have a great e-learning challenge this week!
Challenge of the week
This week your challenge is to build your own NEXTCHA solutions that help reinforce learning content while preventing learners from mindlessly clicking the Next buttons.
In the challenge, you don’t have to limit NEXTCHA to text entry fields, but please limit your demos to text-based interactions.
You can use Articulate Storyline, Quizmaker ‘13, or any other tool that enables text entry fields. If you only have PowerPoint, no problem! Just mockup your NEXTCHA ideas so we can understand how you’re using NEXTCHA.
Resources and templates
To help you get started, check out these free NEXTCHA templates built in Articulate Storyline:
Blogs and discussions:
- Increase Learner Engagement with NEXTCHA
- Find Inspiration with These E-Learning Design Tips & Free Templates
- Free templates: 5 Gate Screens
- Weekly E-Learning Challenge: Gate Screens in Online Courses
- How to Transform Static Content into Interactive Knowledge Checks
- Create a Freeform Question
- Converting an Existing Slide to a Freeform Interaction
- Adding Data Entry Fields
- Adding Text Variables
- Text Entry Fields
Last week’s screencasts in e-learning challenge
Before embarking on your NEXTCHAllenge, check out these screencasting gems shared by your fellow community members:
- David Fair proved he wasn’t afraid of screencasting with this scary Walking Dead effect he recreated in PowerPoint. Well done, David!
- Jeff Kortenbosch is no stranger to screencasting and proved it by sharing his very first screencasts and two of his most recent screencasts. What a difference practice and experience makes. Jeff also shared his screencasting process as well as practical tips to help all of us record better videos. Great demos and info, Jeff!
- David Anderson shared a note card example that addresses common questions in the actual screencast. Great job, me.
- Ana Lucia Barguil shared a great example that combines course narration and screencasting. There are a lot of subtle elements in this demo, so please be sure you check it out. Awesome demo, Ana!
- David Lindenberg jumped in to share a fun tutorial for creating light box effects in Articulate Presenter and Microsoft PowerPoint. David always comes up with creative solutions so be sure to take a look at this classic tip.
- Montse Anderson shared an idea for using screencasts to answer questions from the community.
The weekly challenges are ongoing opportunities to learn, share, and build your e-learning portfolios. You can jump into any or all of the previous challenges anytime you want. We’ll feature your work and provide feedback if you request it.
Hope your week is NEXCHAstic, E-Learning Heroes!
Even if you’re using a trial version of Studio ’13 or Storyline, you can absolutely publish your challenge files. Just sign up for a fully functional, free 30-day trial, and have at it. And remember to post your questions and comments in the forums; we're here to help. For more e-learning tips, examples, and downloads, follow us on Twitter.