Eye Tracking Laboratory

University of Pavia

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L2 - Building the Lesson Page for hierarchical courses

Issue Definition

Hierarchically structured e-learning courses, where usually textual content covers a major role in the course building, page layout and format play a key role for the users’ comprehension. Great importance is given to content positioning.

Guideline Text

1. Pages containing informational content should be easy to identify and access:
1.a Users spend more time reading pages that provide some informational content rather than giving an overview on the structure of the course, for instance.

2. Page structure has to be clearly defined and set-up:
2.a Content pages layout should be homogeneous. In other words, there should be one pre-defined and modular page layout which is replicated all over the course. According to different page purposes, different ‘modular’ contents should be placed;
2.b Functional areas should be clearly defined. Basic areas are:
• Course Title;
• Current Page Title (which shows current position in the course plan);
• Lesson Content;
• Overall Course Plan;
2.c In addition other useful areas can be especially in case of linearly developed courses:
• A ‘Forward’ link to course following topic;
• A ‘Backward’ link to course previous topic;
• An ‘Upper Level’ link to course parent topic (which can bring to the same page as the to course previous topic);
2.d A frameset-like structure is highly recommended to this purpose. A two frame-like structure seems to be appropriate. Tables can be used for this purpose as well:
• A main table whose content includes Course Title, Current Page Title and Lesson Content, plus optional elements such as links to following, previous and parent pages;
• A secondary table where the overall Course Plan is placed and represented by a suitable Navigation Menu. It should be placed on the left side of the page;
2.e Background and foreground colours should be chosen appropriately in order to respect standard accessibility recommendations.

3. Page Title should be clearly visible and identified:
3.a Page Title should be placed in a prominent position. Top of the page below the Course Title seems to be appropriate.

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