Providing clear navigational paths will give students a framework for finding their way through the course. It gives your course a sense of logic and organization. Weigh the importance of whether the units, and pages within each unit, need to be viewed chronologically. For instance, if you are teaching students how to search MEDLINE, do they need to learn about Medical Subject Headings before they can move on to Subheadings? You may have to employ different technological strategies if you want to control the order in which students view some material. You may create a logical framework for which to progress through the course and then allow students the flexibility to choose their own paths to completion.
Carefully consider how much interlinking you will provide students for navigating through your site. It is helpful to send students to information relevant to their learning or refer them back to a previous section at times, however you do not want to do that so frequently that the students get lost navigating through your course. As the graphic below shows, it is easier to get lost in a more flexible site. Consider the importance and what your audience will be able to manage when adding links.
The image below from the Web Style Guide shows how to create your site for your level of learner.
From Web Style Guide, www.Webstyleguide.com, © 2002 Patrick J. Lynch and Sarah Horton.
| The NLM PubMed
Tutorial is a good example to review for navigational strategies
The tutorial provides students with clear instructions on the
main page, consistent navigation on the side, and a top section
that displays each subsection and the number of pages in that
- Provide consistent navigational buttons throughout the course (e.g. back, next, home)
- Give clear instructions on how to navigate through the course
- Provide consistent navigational options either on top or along the left hand side of each Web page in the course