As LMS administrators we fail to take into account the LMS experience. Students come to your website to learn a skill or concept; you do not want them learning how to use the system. The system should reduce a student’s learning effort.
How do you ensure this?
Highlight Interaction Elements
The navigation, discussion forums, actionable items (buttons, links) should be clearly highlighted on your LMS. Make use of color for this purpose. Make it easy for students to spot an available button on the page, instead of making them hunt for it.
Consistency reduces the learning curve.
For example, if a link is of a certain color on one page, it should be the same across all pages. Make sure that headings, actionable items, have a uniform look and feel.
You cannot expect a student to concentrate on reading a lesson if there is a flashing ad on his screen.
But this is probably an extreme case. Focus on simpler things too. For example, a simple feature like collapsible sidebars can make for distraction-free reading.
Navigation is a challenge on Moodle. It’s cumbersome and heavy.
The possibility to navigate quickly can reduce user effort and improve the experience. (Simplifying Moodle navigation was a challenge we took up when designing the Edwiser RemUI theme).
Communication channels definitely affect learner experience. An option to interact with teachers or discuss with peers can significantly enhance their experience.
Educational and psychological research has shown us that learning interfaces affect student experience and help them regulate their own learning. The bottom line is to think beyond usability. Look to make it as easy as possible for your students to follow the content and learn in the most efficient and effective manner.
To quote Dorian Peters once again, “ask yourself this question: did I learn something in spite of the way this was designed, or because of it? Could we be doing this even better?” 🙂