Behaviour of online learners

Whenever you design a course or any communication to be published on the web, here a few things to remember. Online learners:

  • Read more slowly on-line than with paper-based text. The average person reads 180 words per minute online and between 210 and 250 words per minute in a book.
  • Tires easily if they have to move side to side to read every line. Ideally, you should not use columns wider than 300 pixels wide so the reader's eyes don't have to move side to side and only have to move down from line to line. Newspapers figured this tidbit our decades ago. Notice that newspaper columns are narrow.
  • Make the decision to click on a link in less than one second
  • Takes between 2.2 and 3 minutes to complete a multiple choice question that examines their ability to apply the knowledge in a course, so you should allow 30 minutes for every 10 questions.
  • Love pictures. They prefer pictures of real people over stock-images and cartoon figures