University of Sussex
2 files

“No we can’t use less words! Or can we?” Reflections on a journey into e-learning

posted on 2023-06-07, 14:44 authored by Sally Richards, Pam Trevithick, Michelle LefevreMichelle Lefevre, Dominic King
Academics used to traditional styles of writing and presenting material are likely to find developing e-learning materials an unsettling experience. E-learning experts provide invaluable support throughout the process, but their guidance and feedback sounds uncannily like our advice to students: ‘What you are trying to do is far too ambitious!’; ‘What is the point you are making here?’ ‘Is all this detail necessary?’ The potential of e-learning for creative design is exciting, even seductive, until you are told that the image that links to the carefully crafted text does not work! This paper draws on our shared experiences, as academics and e-learning designers, of developing a set of e-learning objects on communication skills. Our collaboration has highlighted many challenges in the process of writing for e-learning. For example: • Determining the scope of a learning object and selecting appropriate content • Making the content engaging and interactive to hold the user’s attention • Using activities rather than text as the main vehicle for learning • Including all the information the user will need to achieve the learning objectives • Explaining complex points in simple and concise language • Choosing images and other design features that link effectively to the text • Adjusting to non-linear approaches to learning. Tackling these challenges has prompted us to rethink our teaching. We are now conscious of how our teaching materials rely on our presence to enthuse, to explain and to fill in the gaps. We have become more confident in our ability to convey complex ideas in simple language and more willing to experiment with creative and interactive forms of presentation. Most important of all we have been forced to rethink our assumptions about what is meant by a sound learning experience.


Publication status

  • Published

File Version

  • Published version

Presentation Type

  • paper

Event name

10th UK Joint Social Work Education Conference with the 2nd UK Social Work Research Conference

Event location

Cambridge, England

Event type


Event date

16-18 July 2008

Department affiliated with

  • Social Work and Social Care Publications

Full text available

  • Yes

Peer reviewed?

  • Yes

Legacy Posted Date


Usage metrics

    University of Sussex (Publications)


    No categories selected


    Ref. manager