Views/ideas about adding instructions to courses

I'm sure this topic has been discussed before but more and more of my clients want me to include course instructions which spell out how to click the navigation buttons, use the video players, notes to make sure the sound is on etc.

I really don't like adding this type of instruction so typically avoid it whenever possible. I was surprised recently when my husband (who is about the smartest guy I know and is extremely tech savvy) was complaining about some horrible eLearning course he was forced to take. One of his complaints was that it was not easy to navigate and  lacked navigation instructions. I asked him if he thought instructions were important and he said they can be helpful especially the first time you go through a course. WOW.

So I am rethinking this a bit and am wondering what the rest of you think and if you have any creative/non intrusive ways for providing these instructions.

32 Replies
Mike Taylor

Tracy Hamilton shared her Engage-based course help files awhile back.  I think they are pretty good and her template is easily customizable to fit your needs.

This is her blog post about it:

..and the Engage file:

Matthew Bray Nimeth

Here is a design I just wrapped up. I usually feel like including navigation instructions is just a little bit insulting but it is one of those things that people tent to disagree on. In this design I opted to include a small compass icon on the lower left hands side of the screen. When someone hovers over the compass (regardless of where they are in the course) a Storyline layer called the help layer goes over the top of the content they are viewing. The help layer is build in the slide master and includes a white 10% transparent square to dim the content on the slide and hand-drawn (by me) arrows and text. It also includes an overlay of all the optional icons so that if the user is on a screen with out a particular icon they still see it with the definition. One of the things we have been doing is trying to be just a little bit funny in our courses. You can see we even show them what the logo is. By the way, our content is for a high-stakes certification so our topics need to be legally defensible from the standpoint of our testing and assessment. This is the reason we have an icon (the clipboard) that appears whenever there is something that is important enough to be in the quiz.