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(In my last post I used the metaphor of a hairbrush to make a distinction between the presentation in onlineself-paced learning modules of “must know” points–the handle–and the “nice to know” points–the bristles.  The message was to fashion the navigation through an online, self-paced experience so the bristles would be accessed only at the option of the learner.)

I’ll offer in this post an example of keeping the “nice to know” information in the “bristles” of our metaphorical hairbrush.

Let’s make the topic Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.  We need our learners to remember only a few things about the Address:

  • The “address” was a speech.
  • It was delivered by President Abraham Lincoln.
  • It was delivered during the civil War.
  • It was delivered at the site of the Battle of Gettysburg.
  • Little appreciated when first heard, the speech has since been a source of inspiration and guidance to millions.

Here are some arguably nice-to-know facts about the Address:

  • It was delivered in 1864.
  • The Union forces defeated the Confederate forces in the Battle.
  • Gettysburg is in Pennsylvania.
  • Lincoln’s rival, Stephen Douglass, delivered a speech earlier the same day.
  • Douglas’ speech was far longer and more bombastic than Lincoln’s.
  • Lincoln composed his short speech on the back of an envelope as he traveled by train from Washingston, D.C. to Gettysburg.

These might be the first few slides along the “handle” of your presentation:

The title slide and following slide (“What?”) above are in the main line.  The blue button on the “What?” slide is hyper-linked to the third slide.  The text at the bottom of the text box on slide three is hyper-linked back to the “What?” slide.

You can link from one “enrichment” slide to another, but going wild with your enrichment slides can make your module confusing to your learners.  A better alternative may be to provide several links out from your main line slide.  In the example above, we could add an additional button to the “What?” slide, captioned “Click to learn more about the Civil War.”

Setting up these “round trips” between main line and enrichment slides isn’t difficult, but you may want to use a couple of tricks that I used in creating the example.  I’ll show you how in my next post.