Often in Higher Education design and aesthetics of online materials are a last minute thought, after pedagogy and content design. In this presentation, I am going to suggest that it could be higher on the priority list. Could e-learning be thought of as art, and have to potential to trigger positive emotions from a learner? (Pugh and Girod, 2007) Additionally, could poor design and aesthetics invoke a negative reaction with learners? A substantial effort is put into websites by most organisations, including in education, in-order to encourage users to engage – this principle could be transferred to learning materials (David and Glore, 2010).
Within the College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Science at the University of Glasgow we want our online distance learners to be engaged as possible, with the online learning materials we provided to them. It is a high priority for us, for them to have an enjoyable learning experience. We believe that quality design and aesthetics enhances the student learning experience.
In light of this, our team the Digital Education Unit have developed branded templates and interactive learning resources in Articulate Storyline, for use within the online distance learning courses provided to online post-graduate students. During this presentation I will explain our rationale; demonstrate some examples; share what I have learnt during this process; and future developments.
Session content: evaluation and reflection
During this presentation I will demonstrate the Storyline player that has been branded for the University of Glasgow. The rationale behind was to assist with online distance students to feel connect with the University. Many of these students never visit the campus (as they are located around the world), and can feel disconnected from the University, therefore using the University brand and images of the University is used to try and create this sense of being a University of Glasgow student.
Encouraging students to be in control of their learning is also important to us at UofG. In light of this, many of our learning materials in Storyline use branching with buttons (triggers), so students can navigate to the learning they wish, rather than a linear learning path.
Additionally States in Storyline have been used to notify students when content has been viewed so they can be effective in their learning, and understand which path(s) contain new content. These will demonstrated these as part of my presentation along with drag and drop quizzes.
These learning materials are part of a suite of learning materials that have been in development, in-use and refined over the last 3 years. Feedback for academic staff and students has been taken on-board during this process.
DAVID, A. & GLORE, P. 2010. The Impact of Design and Aesthetics on Usability, Credibility, and Learning in an Online Environment. 13. Available: https://www.westga.edu/~distance/ojdla/winter134/david_glore134.html [Accessed 22 February 2018].
PUGH, K. J. & GIROD, M. 2007. Science, Art, and Experience: Constructing a Science Pedagogy From Dewey’s Aesthetics. Journal of Science Teacher Education, 18, 9-27.