Thursday, August 15, 2013

Close encounters of the digital kind #wlic2013

I'm at the first day of the IFLA Satellite meeting on Information Literacy and reference services taking place at the National Library of Singapore. I just learnt how to use the wifi (thanks to Mark Hepworth, who pointed out that the instructions were in the conference handbook ;-) I will catch up with the first part of the day later - in the meantime in the track I chose, the first talk I'm liveblogging was: Close encounters of the digital kind: designing effective online tutorials from Susan Gardner Archambault (coauthored by Lindsey McLean)
They did a review of the literature and content analysis of online tutorials from the last 10 years which were listed on the PRIMO database.
Susan presented the elements she identified. The first set were to do with visibility and user control (including showing use progress, call outs for additional information, a visible way to get help (so they don't trapped) and multiple content formats. Aspects of visual clarity included consistent use of colour, a level of branding, and effective use of graphics. Clear navigation was another important element including consistent, visible navigation thatwas separate from the content. I think some of these overlap with the classic heuristics identified by Jakob Nielsen.
Information clarity included: use one idea per screen, use of bullet points, having summaries and making any videos short. Accessibility (with captions, alt tags etc., and complying with national or local guidelines/legislation) was obviously important. The technical considerations included testing on different devices and browsers (you can recommend the ones where it looks the best), making sure plugins are free of charge.
A second overarching category was to do with pedagogy. They saw planning as very important: identifying all the stakeholders and incorporating them into consultation and development. Developing learning outcomes for the tutorial is another obvious must. This stage also included reviewing the technology (to pick the most appropriate) and using storyboards. "Embed multiple forms of communication within the tutorial" included embedded help and enabling people to leave tips for other learners.
"Instruction" was the next heading, including a reminder not just to teach mechanics, to use metaphors and examples, and to "promote critical thinking". With "Assessment" the focus was on good practice in online testing, and "Active learning" concerned using interactive elements (e.g. drag and drop). The whole presentation can be viewed on Slideshare at
Photo by Sheila Webber: Registration desk today

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