Providing a "Learn More" option

Apr 03, 2012

Good afternoon, all!

I am currently creating a fairly complex technical course. The base information will be sufficient for most of my learners. However, some learners will want to know more about specific topics within the course. 

For example, if I had a section where a character sends an email, I may mention that most email uses port 25. However, I would like to offer more information regarding ports in this section, but ONLY for learners who are interested. My thought is this could provide a customized approach for the learners. Most learners would be able to view the basic information and if they want to learn more about a topic, they have the opportunity. 

My question is: What are some ways you could think of to customize a course like this? Or, could you simply comment on ideas below and let me know what you think of them?:

  1. More info button on each slide (links to another slide)
  2. After each topic, bring up a transitioning slide that has 2 options: "Learn More" and "Continue"
  3. Have one character that asks a basic question about the topic and another character that asks a highly technical question. Depending on which character the learner selects, they learn the basic or more technical information.

Those are just initial thoughts. Has anyone seen or created a course that does a good job of this type of customization?

Thanks for any feedback or ideas you can suggest!

11 Replies
Natalia Mueller

My courses are primarily technical and this is something I deal with pretty often too. My dilemma is usually  that I want to provide more info for those who want it but since it's not the primary focus of my course, how much time should I spend on those extras? I don't usually have tons of extra time to execute some of the solutions the way I would really like to do it. That being said, a frequent compromise for me is to insert the extras as Engage interactions on the player tab. Then I just use whatever interaction makes the most sense for the material (the process interaction is a good one for steps). When I get to that point in the course, I tell them to click on the tab for more information. I like that method because it will pause the course and continue from where they left off. I also like that they're stand-alone pieces that I can use again if another course touches on the same topic.

I know there is a way to create a link within the slide that will directly open the tab interaction, but I haven't learned how to do that yet. Stephanie Harnett has mentioned that capability before. Maybe she or another community member will join in and tell us how or what thread discusses it. I'd love to learn how to do it. 

Jeanette Brooks

Hey Patti & Natalia!

Patti those are some great ideas. Another idea that comes to mind is the way Tom & David handled the Christian Aid course they built as a LINGOs project. It includes 2 tracks: a basic informational track, and also a more interactive scenario track. Learners can choose which one they take.

Another thought, if you're not already leveraging your slide notes for narration text, is to use the notes panel to display those "extras" that only some learners will want to see. You could change the text label of your Notes button to something like "Learn More," and explain to learners at the beginning of the course that it contains optional, deeper info. I have seen courses that do this and it's kind of nice when they move the notes button to the bottom of the player, just to set it apart a little bit. The downside with using the slide notes for optional info is that they can only contain text (although you can format it all sorts of ways, so at least there's that!).

I like Natalia's idea for using Engage too. Natalia, the direct-linking thing you mentioned... is that where you link to a specific segment or tab within an interaction? Although there's not a turn-key way to do that, there are 2 workarounds that I know of, this one from eMedia Innovations and this one from James Kingsley.

Bob S

Hi Patti,

Some of the ideas around this so far are awesome. However,  I did want to offer a slightly differing opinion that is rooted in the sobering reality of business today.

Often times we have budget and time constraints on what we can create. So as much as we want to offer advanced / enriched materials for the truly interested, sometimes it's just not practical. Instead we have to focus on the 90% instead of the 10%. However there is a bright side...

We've found that the 10% that want to learn more are typically are going to do so regardless of what we offer them... or don't. They are far more likely to seek out additional knowledge on their own no matter what form it comes in.

That does not mean we have an excuse to ignore them. But it does mean that if business realities rear their head, we are able to invest more time into making the main course richer and more engaging, then offer the passioante minority materials outside the course itself. Often times, we can best feed this need in a low resource way with simple collections of resources they can pursue through attachments or links.

Again, I'm not trying to dampen anyone's creativity!  Far from it. Just a reminder that in some situations, it's best to focus on the majority and enrich their experience, then get out of the way of the ones that are going to learn it with or without our help.

Hope this helps and good luck with the project,


Steve Flowers

Progressive disclosure of concepts and content that contribute either directly or peripherally to "big picture understanding" and real-world skill development is a great way to acknowledge that stack of stuff the SME hands you that contains a mix of need to know and nice to know information. Personally, I tend to lean (violently, if necessary) away from nice to know information that is too tangential to provide anything but trivial or interest value.

I agree with Bob, in making design decisions it's really important to focus on the EFFORT : OUTCOME ratio. Focus the most effort where the greatest outcomes can be wrought. Here's a table that offers food for thought and might be helpful when "bucketizing" content for design priority. When you're able to map through a lens like this, it's easier to see where your energy needs to go.

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Content / Concept Profile

Need to know

Nice to know

Already Know

Easily Grasped

Hard to Grasp

A fact…






A principle…






A rule…






A process…






A concept of operation…






A metaphor… (supports another concept)






I recently wrote about a mapping method that illustrates the connections between content and outcomes (and all of the important stuff in between). I'm still working on the model. Nothing validated yet but it does resonate as situationally useful. This dovetails with the off-the-cuff lens represented in the table above.

Rebecca Fleisch Cordeiro

Thanks to all for these posts. I'm setting myself a reminder to read all more thoroughly when I have time (along with all my other reminders :-(). I appreciate the input in terms of How To do this. But also the reality of the ROI.

And regarding the likelihood, or lack thereof, of Learners following up on more info, whether due to time constraints, other obligations, or diminishing enthusiasm, a related story.

Years ago I did a lot of classroom facilitation of technology training for Adult Learners in various venues. Most of the classes were 8-12 hours of introductory training in Windows and Office. Our end-of-class survey always asked people to check off if they were interested in an intermediate class and/or to write down WHAT they'd like to come back for (taking the time to write it down would indicate'd think).

People checked off and wrote down and we offered classes. And they never filled (minimum was only 5 students in most cases). I, and the other instructors, had gazillion (not really...but a LOT ) of intro classes and speaking for myself, I got really really positive reviews. Still, it never went anywhere...and in some cases classes were free (payment being picked up by educational collaboratives).

TX again, all!

Natalia Mueller

I agree. The first thing that gets cut is any item that relates directly to a minority of learners. I mentioned in my post above that I'll add additional info as an Engage Process Interaction. I have found myself using that more often as a review option than bonus type material. I actually got the idea from Jelly Vision. I'll use the interaction as an option for a more in depth explanation, or as a review of something covered in another course. I like giving the end users the choice to review the steps included or to opt out and continue with the course. The Engage form makes it easy to take the material I already developed for something else, condense it and insert it directly versus linking to an entire course.

I realize that's not really what we're talking about here, but it's related and Patti may find it useful since she's developing technical courses too.

Steve Flowers

Made a post around the off-the-cuff profiling tool I referenced above. Another post will delve into what the natures of the profiles could reveal and how design types might want to strategically deal with it. 

A Simple Lens: Content and Concept Profile

I'm already seeing another factor emerge: Beyond Audience (where the content or concept is beyond the goals of the skill builder or unreasonable for a level of mastery).

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