Modular content design makes software easier to teach and learn and courseware easier to develop. By classifying modules by type, you create an accessible library of content to use whenever you develop new courses. This frees you from having to rewrite content, thus speeds development.

Chunk Content

In creating courseware using modular content design principles, it is neither necessary nor desirable to cover all the information found in the User's Guide. In fact, courseware should contain little or no running prose. That way we avoid the expense of writing, editing, manufacturing and localizing material that already exists. Instead, chunk content into short conceptual statements, bulleted lists, and procedural steps that can be read at a glance. For expanded explanations, reference online documentation and encourage instructors to do so as well. When instructors refer to online help topics, it improves performance and retention of the participants.

Say It in Pictures

To make communication doubly effective, design content visually as well as verbally. Limit content modules to one per page. In laying out text and graphics, use a two-column format, with text on the left and graphics on the right. By making certain elements consistent and predictable, you make it possible for users to skim for the unfamiliar information that is the most important for them to learn.Create alternate ways of reading the material visually by providing abundant illustrations, detailed captions, sidebars, and bulleted lists.

Check List

  • Classify content according to type.

  • Make content clear and easy to learn.

  • Chunk content into concise modules that can be reused to teach new lessons in different formats:
    • Short Paragraphs
    • Bulleted Lists
    • Numbered Steps
    • Graphics
    • Animations

  • Eliminate long explanations. Provide references to online help topics and the User's Guide instead.

  • Say it in pictures. Design content visually as well as verbally.

  • Eliminate distractions. Limit modules to one per page.

  • Use two columns. Lay out text on the left and graphics on the right. Or move text into sidebars and bulleted lists.