What do – the three little pigs, 3 phase power, the 3 lions on the England football shirts, 3 men in a boat, the three musketeers, the 3 Amigos, the Holy Trinity of Christianity, the Trimurti of Hinduism, the Three Jewels of Buddhism, the Three Pure Ones of Taoism, and the Triple Goddess of Wicca have in common? – Easy enough! The number 3 of course! And then there is another 3 – the three –click rule.
For those who are not familiar with the three-click rule, ‘the three-click rule or three click rule is an unofficial web design rule concerning the design of website navigation. It suggests that a user of a website should be able to find any information with no more than three mouse clicks. It is based on the belief that users of a site will become frustrated and often leave if they cannot find the information within the three clicks.’(source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three-click_rule).
There has been a lot of debate over the efficacy of the 3-click rule and if users will actually leave a website or lose interest, if they do not find what they want within three clicks of a mouse. While studies have proved that there is no definite linkage between the number of clicks to get to desired information and the reason for leaving a website, one thing is for sure – there is an increased level of frustration directly proportionate to the number of clicks required.
We have all experienced this frustration at some point or the other when surfing the web – where too many clicks was not enough to get to the information we wanted. Whether it is filling up a long, meaningless, time-consuming form to get access to simple information, or clicking link after link… only to be told that access has been denied, or searching for words that confuse the web – like homonyms – it all leads to frustration.
The ultimate aim of any eLearning course is to promote successful learning – and that is not possible if the learner is frustrated to begin with. Content providers, learning solutions providers and instructional designers concentrate on making courses look attractive and providing required information. But if a learner has to delve deep into a website to access this information, chances are that you would be left with a mildly frustrated learner who is in no mood to use the information he has finally managed to obtain.
This is where technology plays an important role. Technology should be used to bring together all the elements of a course, and enable the content to be used in a more meaningful way that will NOT leave learners (I hate to use the word again) – frustrated.
In an organizational setting, there is already a certain amount of disgruntlement among employees regarding training. Strict timelines, pressure to perform, off-site assignments, lack of technological know-how (and therefore difficulty to use technology enabled training) – all lead to employee frustration.
Can the three click rule be used in eLearning?
A few years ago, LMS service providers offered training that was intense, thorough and extended. This worked very well because information was fairly stagnant and did not need comprehensive updating, people had the time for long training programs, training was extended over a long period of time, and employees spent most of the time in the workplace, allowing them to access training from work; and productivity started only after a long period of on-boarding.
Today, we have a very different scenario at the workplace: Knowledge changes at a very fast rate; technological advancements make life easier; 24 hours in a day seems like 24 minutes; there is an increased demand for just-in-time learning; many employees work out of remote locations or offsite, making it impossible for detailed IL training; the on-boarding period is short and employees are expected to start performing immediately after training or while training. Now, LMS service providers are faced with the problem of catering to a new type of client – the employee who requires immediate answers and quick solutions.
So does the three-click rule apply to eLearning? No, it does not. And the reason it is not applicable is that the learner now requires information in less time than it would take him to click his mouse thrice. Access to knowledge at three clicks was once the buzz; however, today it can be a cause for frustration to set in; because three clicks is not fast enough.
Can the three-click rule be bettered to reduce user frustration?
Yes, today it is possible to provide the learner with information in less than three clicks. LMS service providers now build their LMS around the latest technologies. They offer LMSes that are light, modern, up-to-date, and provide the learner with just-in-time learning whenever it’s required. Almost all the information that is required is available on a dashboard – and this information can be accessed in a click or with no click at all! Detailed knowledge that requires the learner to delve deeper is available within a couple of clicks. Employees have instant access to personalized training programs, chats, surveys, online digital libraries and much more.
L&D Departments can be sure of successful training and access to instant access when an LMS provides:
- Clear site structure
- Uncluttered screen
- Clear instructions
- Easy accessibility
- Easy navigation
- Logical placement of information and icons
As we move ahead the possibilities get better – no telling what’s in store for us in the future!
What do – the three little pigs, 3 phase power, the 3 lions on the England football shirts, 3 men in a boat, the three m...