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Designing with learners in mind

Whether you’re designing learning material or assessments, you need to keep the people who are going to use your resources in mind. Although all learners will have different preferences, there are a few things that you can do to make learning and assessment run more smoothly for them. Keep these things in mind next time you are designing learning or assessment material:

Learning and assessment resources need to be easy to navigate
Whether you are designing paper-based learning material or using computer software, you need to make sure that it’s easy for learners to use. Learners should be able to spend their time engaging with the material, rather than figuring out where to look, read or click next. Ensuring that this is the case can be as simple as breaking material into sections or chapters if you are working with paper. If you are designing material for online however, you will need to make sure that any attempts to make the material interesting are balanced with ease of use. Get a few different people to test the navigation pathways and check that it’s straightforward and the information is easy to find.

Presentation is important
The design aspect of developing learning and assessment material is just as important as writing the content. Certain designs will make the learner’s job easier and enable them to really engage with the material. Fonts should always be easy to read and of an appropriate size, and learners should be drawn to the key points in a page of text right away. You can do this by using key points boxes or bold text. Images are also important to think about. They can be useful to break up text, but images need to be relevant to the learning material or assessment question. Don’t just throw any image in your material – make sure that it is relevant and useful for the learner.

Learners need space to think and breathe
When designing for learners, it’s better to space things out rather than cram everything onto a single slide or a page. Leaving some white space or empty space makes it easier for learners to find the important points and process the information. If you are faced with the choice of making text smaller or removing spaces to make everything fit on a page, usually the better option is to put in some more spaces and spread the information out. Learners are likely to find it much less stressful and intimidating to engage with the material if it is arranged well.

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