Which is your favourite online learning platform and why? (I’ve added a list below for some inspiration)
Difficult to say, as it depends on what and how I’m learning, but here are a few:
- videos are short, highly focused, and contain no fluff or intros
- progress through a course is obvious via the sidebar on the right
- comments and discussion for videos is located on the same page as each video
- UI is fast and uncluttered
What do you wish online learning platforms would do better when it comes to their user experience?
- the horizontal progress through a course section is jarring and makes it difficult to determine where I am in the course, and how to get to other parts of the course. Scanning left to right takes more effort than scanning top to bottom. If I want to know my progress, I don’t want to have to do work - it should be clear so that I can focus on the learning
- I’m not a fan of forums and community discussion areas - I don’t enjoy social media, and I feel that by being part of a forum there’s pressure to maintain a presence, as well as potential for being interrupted with notifications / growing inbox. Many platforms want you to introduce yourself, and discuss course content in a specific area away from any specific course item. It’s nice for people who want to join a community, but if I want to find something out about a specific video I’m working through, I want to ask the question right there and then on the same page. egghead.io is great for this.
If you had to name the feature that you find most useful in a learning platform, what would it be?
An obvious indication of my progress available at all times.
Is there anything else you’d like to mention about your online learning journey?
I recently started some data science material on Khan Academy. In their quizzes they have a scratch pad which appears over the question where you can write what you want. The scratch pad doesn’t obstruct text inputs in the question area - this is a delight! No context switching in the interface when thinking and calculating and entering answers!
1. How do you guys like the vertical progress bar shown on the left hand side of this site? This kind of navigation could be used to navigate learners through sections of a course.
Takes too long to determine what each item is - hovering on individual items to find out what they are would frustrate me - I want to scan with my eyes, instead of my mouse, so I can get back to learning
2. Would you like some kind of animation to show which answers are correct or incorrect when it comes to things like quizzes?
Could be nice. IIRC Khan Academy does this nicely when completing a quiz. Maybe not every question, but on conclusion of a section when you know you’ve reached a milestone and you’re happy to have a little distraction, similar to Process Street’s animation when completing a checklist. I’m not sure if I’d be distracted by animations when going through individual questions or not, but it doesn’t seem like it’d necessarily benefit the learning.
3. We’d love to add some cool transitions and hover effects to the theme. What do you think about displaying course options in a similar style to the cards shown in the GIF below? If a card / course is selected it’ll open with some kind of cool transition.
I’m neither here nor there on the transitions. If they’re fast and unobtrusive, then sure, but I don’t imagine they’ll benefit me finishing a course.
4. When the user is viewing their course, and scrolls to the bottom of the page, we could include a bold, fun way to navigate to the previous, or next option, as shown below. What do you think?
Nope, boring and simple is fine with me. UIs are difficult to build and maintain, and animation for the sake of animation is likely not a good idea for maintenance or UX. If the animation is going to help me go to the next page more effectively than a simple button, then maybe it’d be valuable, otherwise I probably wouldn’t mind whether it was there or not. I’d be concerned about potentially being pulled out of flow if their are animations all over the place.
5. Would prefer if courses are listed in a more interesting way on the theme? For instance instead of listing course options one below each other, we could list them horizontally and include a vertical scroll. What do you think?
Side scrolling is quite possibly the feature I like the least on any site - more so than popups. I want scrolling to be as boring as possible, because I want to read the list as efficiently as possible. Also, the cognitive dissonance of scrolling my mouse in the Y plane, while content moves in the X plane is jarring.
6. When displaying course content, what do you think about using a split screen showing text on one side, and images or videos on the other?
This is a great idea . FreeCodeCamp makes excellent use of a split for working and context. Likely contextual, though, as in FreeCodeCamp you’re writing code at the same time as evaluating requirements.
7. Do you like it when videos you come across on a page autoplay? See example below:
It drives me bananas . A video can play if it doesn’t affect layout, doesn’t have audio, and provides context to what I’m doing. If I’m looking at a car site, or extreme sports website, sure, they can play their videos in the banner when I get there. If I’m trying to read something, however, it drives me nuts that I have to stop a playing video; it pulls me out of the context of what I’m there to consume