When course designers think of text, they’re usually thinking about ways to reduce the amount of on-slide text or how to make it more readable for the learner. And that makes sense. Text is still the largest visual communication element in online courses.
But as important as text is in course design, it’s not generally considered an essential element of interactive e-learning.
So how can designers build better courses when they’re stuck working on text-heavy courses?
Using Tooltips and Text Links as Microinteractions
One idea for making on-slide text more meaningful is to use tooltips as microinteractions.
Rather than overloading each slide with extraneous information, use tooltips and hyperlinks to encourage learners to actively explore additional reference materials, examples, and interactions. Let’s look at some examples.
Ten Brighter Ideas: Explorable Explanations
Here’s a fantastic example of an interactive document that lets users “read and play with an interactive analysis” of each claim in the list. Users can view the source for any statistic by mousing over the value. Data and numbers can also be changed dynamically by dragging or clicking the values.
The Heritage Guide to The Constitution
Here’s an example of how text links can be used to provide additional context and analysis in a document. In this case, each clause in the Constitution is hyperlinked to one or more essays that explain the clause in greater detail.
I like this type of model for regulatory and compliance courses that rely heavily on jargon and legalese. Legal terms and phrases are linked to concrete examples that are explained in simple language all learners can understand.
Creative Design Ideas for Tooltip Styles
Tooltips don’t have to be static or boring. Check out the following showcase for creative ways to design and animate your tooltips.
Challenge of the Week
This week, your challenge is to create an example that shows how tooltips and interactive text can be used in e-learning.
Last Week’s Challenge:
Before you design your explorable explanations, check out the creative ways course designers are using small words to explain complex topics:
Wishing you a great week, E-Learning Heroes!
New to the E-Learning Challenges?
The weekly e-learning 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. I’ll update the recap posts to include your demos.