Making an online course for a non-computer savvy audience

Jul 29, 2014

I need to create an interactive elearning course for an audience that is known to struggle with using computers (as in, many of them don't have one at home, don't use one at work, or if they use one at work then they only know how to do three or four specific things).

I don't typically educate this audience online, but the decision for an elearning course came from a higher power. So I'm looking for ways to make it simple, user-friendly, etc.

Does anyone have any tips or resources for such a situation?

Copious thanks in advance.

10 Replies
Harri S

Hi Pam,

Welcome to the forums.

We have to deal with these types of audiences quite regularly so we've come up with a few general rules that tend to help:

1- Include instructions for everything, do not assume that anything is 'obvious' (maybe include a help button)

2- Provide clear instructions - rather than using phrases such as drag and drop, use 'click on the object and then drag it to ....' etc

3- Keep interactions in a similar format i.e drag and drop so the learners can build familiarity

4- Ensure there is some way they can ask questions. Typically for our audience they have to sit in an IT suite at work to complete the modules so we ensure there is someone there that is pc savvy to answer questions (but not tell them the answers!) If this isn't possible Steffanie's idea of a handout could help, or someone they can call who knows the module.

5- Make all interactive items as obvious as design allows, this could be using icons for all clickable items or using hover states.

6- Keep all key buttons (next, prev, submit etc) in the same place on the screen and, where possible, layout activities in the same way so learners can build familiarity.

Obviously this isn't an exhaustive list, but it's what we've come up with so far.

Hope this helps


Chris Lee

Just a note on the link Layton f put on the BBC no longer have these courses available, pity as I was going to use them for a beginners internet course for UK pensioners. Back to the drawing board

Pam, personally I'd keep the interaction to a minimum, have a clean GUI (by that I mean simple use words instead of shapes/ buttons)and go heavy on video(not also the easy way, I know)

Hope this helps


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