Tips for Using 2D Maps in e-learning
The many advantages of putting learning content into a map structure
Learning content should be inspiring, if not utterly captivating. Ideally, it should be branded and look cool. And it needs to be engaging for the video gamer generation, without alienating more conventional learners. That’s a lot of boxes for modern learning experiences to tick.
Consequently, many companies and organisations are turning to map-based training. Even so, it’s a fairly new area, and the e-learning applications of maps may not be immediately obvious, despite the ubiquity of Google Maps.
That’s why we have put together this article. It explains the difference between 2D and 3D maps and illustrates the structure and advantages of 2D map-based training.
Differences between 2D and 3D maps
Arguably the most important difference between 2D and 3D maps is the browser performance required. 3D maps are rendered live in the browser, so they require more computing power and a very stable network or internet connection. The upside is that 3D maps allow dynamic perspectives: users can switch perspectives within the map.
A 2D map does not allow dynamic perspectives, but the viewer can create the impression of changing perspective by moving relative to the map. This 2D principle is employed in many strategy games, for example. The map is based on images in which it is not possible to change perspectives. The advantage is that fairly large story/learning worlds can be shown without requiring a lot of browser performance.
2D does not necessarily mean static. Within a 2D world, it is possible to have individual elements that are animated and dynamic. This is called 2D animation, and it lends life and vibrancy to 2D maps. It is even possible to integrate 3D graphics into 2D maps.
The introduction: arriving on the map
As with most learning experiences, it’s a good idea to start with an introduction. The introduction can appear or pop up on the map in the form of a chat window or a specially created page that briefly outlines the storyline and subject matter of the training session. It is advantageous here to explicitly tell the learner what the training task will involve, and what their objectives are. The benefit of showing an introduction directly on the map at the outset is that the learner does not need to leave the learning world and therefore does not lose focus.
The main narrative: read the map
It is vital that the main part of the session is self-explanatory. This means the map must be intuitive to use. A certain degree of in-map guidance can be achieved by unlocking individual tasks step by step. That way, learners intuitively know the correct task order, without having to be explicitly told. Crucially, this approach allows learners to discover the learning content for themselves, i.e., exploratively. The navigation leads via the 2D map to various locations that the learner can ‘visit’. An example would be where the map shows a building that the learner can click on and enter in order to progress to the next task or access a learning nugget.
Interstitial and achievement screens can be used to lend further structure to the main narrative by appearing as pop-ups overlaying the map. They can provide orientation by showing learners their next tasks, highlighting their progress, or making them aware of further options. The whole learning experience can be made even clearer by adding jump labels to individual locations on the map. These can be used to help the learner navigate from tasks to their associated learning content.
GOOD TO KNOW
Learners should not need to leave the map (the learning world) at any point. Everything they need in order to achieve their objectives should be contained within the map. This can be achieved, for example, by using chat windows that open directly on the map, or by showing learning nuggets, content items and hints as overlays on the map.
The conclusion: leave the map
In 2D maps, just as in other learning settings, it is important to clearly mark the conclusion of learning units and tasks so that learners know they have successfully completed the section in question or indeed the entire training session. There are many different ways of doing this. The key is to ensure the method chosen fits with the training session’s overall storyline. For example, you can use a list of checkpoints which is then displayed at the end with all tasks checked off. Or you can show a notification in the chat window.
Can a map-based training session also be short?
To retain the map’s explorative dimension while at the same time creating a training session that can be completed within a short space of time, you can reduce the amount of learning content, streamline the user experience, or confine exploration strictly to key locations on the map. The main thing is to maintain excitement while keeping the learning purposeful.
How gamified can a map-based training session be?
The primary focus must be on the learner experience, so the map should not contain any unnecessary actions or locations.
Surely map-based training sessions are very labour-intensive to produce?
Not necessarily. The total overhead can actually be relatively low, as the world created by a 2D map makes a relatively large contribution to creating an exciting learning experience. It is possible to reduce the design overhead that goes into learning nuggets/subpages by integrating them into a 2D map.
But isn’t that really expensive?
The 2D map format does not necessarily require more design work by our experts, so it is a very good alternative to 3D maps, even for limited budgets.
What are the other advantages over 3D maps?
Good performance, low overhead, faster page loading.
Rapid Content Development
We want things now: fast food, coffee to go, messenger services, online shopping … we no longer have time. Companies have also clocked onto this trend, and want to stay up to date with their training courses.
Gamification takes corporate learning to a new level
The fact that Game Based Learning works as a motivational booster for e-learning is already rooted in childhood. We have summarized the most common types of games and practical examples for you.
E-Learning Punk is an article and talk series for all L&D Pros who want to dare something and believe that digital training has to be colourful and loud.
I joined the imc newsroom team in 2021. As a journalist my heart beats for content and storytelling.
I’m excited to figure out how e-learing and digitization affect the future of work. My task is to create content to talk about and I’m always looking for trends.
Privately I love to travel and eat Tapas.
Topics: E-Learning Trends, Corporate Social Responsibility, Press and Influencer Relations