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Digital pedagogy

3 simple principles for designing e-learning materials




Whether in the form of presentations or videos, your materials should be designed to make it as easy as possible to remember and understand your e-learning. This is precisely the purpose of this document, which deals with the issue of learning on LMS platforms.


1. From Information to the Assimilation

2. Impact on the design of content

3. Conclusion.


.From the Information to the Assimilation

When new information occurs, the learner tries to integrate it into his or her thought patterns. The information is then interpreted and adapted so that it can be linked to the initial knowledge: Keep in mind that learning is a process of real knowledge construction, and not simply of recording or absorbing information like a hard disk storing what is transmitted to it.


In order to allow the learning process to take place when following a presentation, reading a document or watching a video, the learner must be able to :

  • Pay attention to the right elements
  • Organise mentally in a coherent way,
  • Link to previous knowledge,

This is known as the Select - Organise - Integrate principle (SOI) .

The first two stages (selection and organisation) are limited by our brain's ability to handle only a very small amount of information simultaneously (between 4 and 7). If the learner has to process too much information, there is a cognitive overload and learning fails. The third stage (integration) requires a sufficiently high level of cognitive engagement: passive listening to a document or simple copying will only lead to very superficial learning with little persistence.

Too many distracting elements -> Guiding attention

Problem: The learner is unable to pay attention to the right elements.

Solution: Guiding attention.


Highlight important information as you present it: bold words, graphic elements to focus attention,

Eliminate all superfluous elements that may disrupt the main message: unnecessary text, unrelated images or music, even your own image in videos!

Highlighting important information is not necessary!


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Too many essential elements -> Limit complexity

Problem: The content is so complex that it is beyond the learner's cognitive abilities.

Solution: Limit the complexity of the document.


Make the elements appear step by step, both for the text and for the graphs, illustrations or equations.

If there is a lot of new vocabulary, provide training beforehand.

Keep the text short and, in an illustration, place it next to the designated element.

During a presentation, take breaks.

If you make videos, segment them. Furthermore, analysis of learner behaviour in MOOCs[1] shows that the average time spent watching a video does not exceed 6 minutes. Set this value as a threshold that should not be exceeded.

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the average viewing time of a video is over 15 minutes.






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Passive learners -> Organise reflection

Problem: The learner does not engage sufficiently in reflection to lead to learning.

Solution: organise the reflection


Add MCQs or open-ended questions on the content. Integrate them throughout your speech.

Have your students interact on the key points: group work, debates...

Use the counter-argument technique: before explaining your point of view, first present the opposite point of view and then explain why it is insufficient or misinformed. Then present the correct view and what it brings.

Use a conversational level of language, not a formal one. This increases the cognitive engagement of those listening.


1) To guide attention,

2) Limiting complexity

3) Organise reflection

The first step is to improve our training materials a priori, i.e. before they have been tested in a situation. The second stage, which should not be neglected, is a posteriori improvement, i.e. analysing the effects on participants in order to follow up on their use: which points are less well understood, recurring misinterpretations, remaining questions, etc. And this is also a subject in its own right!

Thank you !

Ghofrane ZOUABI Digital Learning Specialist