E‐ffective Writing for E‐Learning Environments

Maurice B. Line (Harrogate, UK)

The Electronic Library

ISSN: 0264-0473

Article publication date: 1 June 2004




Line, M.B. (2004), "E‐ffective Writing for E‐Learning Environments", The Electronic Library, Vol. 22 No. 3, pp. 285-286. https://doi.org/10.1108/02640470410541714



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

E‐learning is the future of education – or it may become so, for it seems at present merely to supplement traditional learning methods rather than replace them. Part of the reason is probably that instructors are not yet experienced in use of the necessary skills. This book offers them a comprehensive guide.

Be sure not to read the acknowledgements and credits (called “Preface” on the contents page) first; not only are the acknowledgements excessively gushing, but the word “re‐purpose”, clear in meaning but unknown to any dictionary, is used twice. After that, things get very much better, although I found the style – a blend of academic and somewhat folksy – a little irritating. According to the introduction, the author (who is director of the Academic Technologies for Learning Department in the University of Alberta) has three audiences in mind, all instructors: those who are exploring e‐learning options, those who are ready to begin converting an e‐learning component to a face‐to‐face delivery or entirely online, and those who have already “re‐purposed” an e‐learning component and want to ensure that the result is effectively designed.

Over two‐fifths of this large book is occupied by a handbook, the ten chapters of which mirror those of the main text and present (and occasionally repeat) the material in a more structured form, with exercises (since some of the exercises contain tables etc., that have to be filled in, they might have been better presented in loose‐leaf form for easier copying).

The text is clearly laid out, with many tables and figures, enabling the reader to progress systematically step by step from planning factors through principles of user‐centred design, selection and evaluation of learning objects (this chapter is by a colleague in the same department), message design, user interface design, the active e‐reader, to usability testing, and finally a survey of developments in e‐learning (which introduces “m‐learning”, “the intersection of mobile computing and e‐learning”). It is hard to think of anything, however small, that has been missed.

Paperback with “perfect” binding is not an ideal format for such a large book. Not only would it be expected to receive a lot of wear and tear, but it is impossible to keep open except with the aid of steel clamps. The publisher as well as the reader needs to think in terms of user‐centred design. Otherwise, the book is well designed and printed, on good strong paper. It is strongly commended for those concerned with the preparation of e‐learning material.

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