Earlier this year I came across the Head First WordPress book from O’Reilly and was much taken by the “brain-friendly” highly visual, conversational, sometimes jokey layout (see left). This made me ponder just how friendly our self-study e-learning support material is. We tend to make our documents and videos quite academic and dry, though our live workshops are fun and interactive.
e-Learning consultant Clive Shephard raised much the same point in a blog post this month Can self-study be social? . He suggests “self-study could feel very much like one-to-one learning if the content was prepared with a degree of personality… written using a conversational tone, with the author’s personality shining through“…maybe I suggest a bit more like the Head First design approach.
Clive puts it bluntly “Web 2.0 content – blog and forum postings, YouTube videos, etc. – is consumed with gusto because it has personality. Policy manuals, corporate brochures and self-study compliance courses are not, because they don’t.”
He concludes “Time for e-learning to get some personality. If it does, even self-study can feel like a social experience.”
It seems there is a challenge there for all of us involved in the development of print and online support materials, to move from the dry academic tone towards something that is a little more fun and engaging.