Last November we announced upcoming changes to the course navigation, some of which went live on edx.org last January. The second set of changes we are readying for release in the next 3-4 weeks, and this post is a summary of those improvements, as well as some details on how to preview these changes and provide any additional feedback.

Course Navigation Today

Today, a learner’s course content experience centers around a single primary view under the Course tab. In this area learners see the section and subsection navigation on the left, and the learning sequence bar across the top of each page. In testing we uncovered a number of opportunities to improve this workflow for learners to support their understanding of where they are in a course while also allowing them to immerse themselves in the learning content.

A view of the current LMS navigation with the sections and subsections on the sidebar.

Course Navigation Next (~3-4 weeks)

Additional testing has highlighted that the course landing experience is a clear opportunity area for helping new learners better understand what a course is all about. The home page and the course pages are the areas of initial focus for our team, helping to ensure that the most commonly asked questions learners have when they land in a course are answered quickly and easily. We have found that learners are often looking to answer the following three questions when they arrive in a course:

  1. What is in this course? – Outline / Content Clarity
  2. What do I need to complete or do? – Outcomes / Progress
  3. Is this course for me? – Relevance / Belonging

Students often endeavor to seek answers to these questions as a part of their initial engagement with a course they have just enrolled in. In fact, we have found that over half of learners decide to upgrade within 60 minutes of their enrollment, which highlights the importance of ensuring learners get answers to these questions early in their course experience. The ability to answer these questions quickly we believe should help more learners determine whether or not they are ready to commit to becoming a certificate learner.

While there are many improvements to these experiences we are looking to develop, we believe an important foundational step is an at a glance course outline that helps learners see the full scope of what is in a course. To this view we expect to layer in visual progress and visibility into course certificates as an upgrade option. The initial version of this page will provide visibility into the entire course outline and make it easy for learners to return to the last content area they were viewing.

A view of the initial full width course outline

As part of this change to having a dedicated course outline view, we will be able to expand the learning content area for learners and provide a more immersive content experience as shown below. In addition to a wider learning area, there will be an easy way to get back to the Course Outline from the breadcrumb above the sequence bar.

A screenshot of the full width course content area, showing the outline breadcrumb navigation element.

Additional Testing and Review

If you would like to provide additional feedback or test these changes in advance of them being enabled on edx.org please feel free to reach out via email to [email protected]