Daylight and the Learner-Interface Interaction

In our last blog, we shared some ideas with you about how to promote student engagement and interaction in your online courses. As we get ready for the changeover to Daylight in eLearn this May, we invite you to think about a fourth type of learner interaction which promotes active learning in distance learning: the learner-interface interaction.

There’s more to learner-interface interaction than the computer reacting to a student clicking a link. The overall “readability” of a course is part of the learner-interface interaction. If a professor uses a font too small to see or not designed for ease of reading, they may negatively impact the learner-interface interaction and impede learning. If the color of the link text is similar to the color of the page background so text is difficult to see, then the learner-interface interaction gets in the way of learning. The goal of learner-interface interaction is to promote the course learning path while making the online learning experience easy and even joyful.

We’re fortunate at Vol State because we’re introducing Daylight, a new “look” for eLearn which improves readability and the learner-interface interaction on computers, tablets and smart phones. A quick look at a student’s “My Home” page shows how Daylight improves the learner-interface interaction.

Our current eLearn interface is on the left. Note the heavy blue bars which detract from readability by adding clutter without adding information. On the right, the Daylight interface is free of unnecessary clutter (even our new eLearn logo is streamlined).

Why do students usually go to their eLearn My Home page? Why to go to their courses, of course! If you try to find courses in the current eLearn interface on the left, you need to scroll down to find them. In Daylight, courses are as close to the top left as they can be, the place where students first place their eyes. In addition to text description of the courses, professors can now add a recognizable graphic to their course so students can more quickly recognize the link to the course.

New Daylight Content Templates

Distributed Education created a series of templates you may use as you create course pages. These templates give you two powerful advantages:

  • They create a great look for your course taking full advantage of the features of Daylight. You’ll easily create aesthetically pleasing pages that promote student learning.
  • Depending on how you use them, the templates can help you meet several of the Quality Matters specific review standards. As an online course developer, you can concentrate on more course content and think a bit less about Quality Matters standards.

The image below shows how you find document templates in the upcoming Daylight experience. You create a new page and then click the “Select a Document Template” pull down menu next to the field where you enter the page title. Before you use a template in a course, play with the templates in your eLearn sandbox. And always remember: templates come first and you load content into them second. If you select a template when a page is already populated with content, you’ll lose your content!

To learn more about how to use Daylight to improve the learner-interface interaction of your courses, join Distributed Education at our next Daylight eLearn Experience “Sneak Peek” at 3PM on April 26 in our training lab in Ramer #172P. Our March 12 blog, Introducing Daylight is very informative. In a few weeks, your eLearn Essentials course will be updated with a number of references to help you take full advantage of Daylight, including how to use the four new document templates. Of course, if you need support call Distributed Education at (615) 230-3665 or email

Bryan Saums portrait.

Bryan Saums joined the Distributed Education team as an Instructional Design Specialist in February 2018. He holds two masters and certifications in geographic information systems (GIS) and instructional design. He has designed and taught a diverse array of online and hybrid courses, including cultural anthropology, archaeology, environmental science, ecology, cartography and geographic research methods.