The 5 Routes You Need to Know

How do you determine the best navigational route through your online course? What path should you set for your students based on their needs?


When I’m driving and need directions, Google Maps presents me with a choice of routes. It assumes that the fastest route is the most desirable, and often it is. But sometimes my objective is different. Sometimes I want the shortest mileage. Sometimes I want to avoid a toll. And other times I want to choose a street I find pleasant to drive on. The “best” route depends on what I want to accomplish.

Determining how to let students navigate through your online course is a similar decision. Sometimes you want to ensure that each student follows the same path, such as for compliance training, where all students need to be shown identical material. Other times you may want students to have a more personalized learning experience.

With the flexibility of today’s course building tools, you can choose how your students will navigate through the course content. And just as with Google Maps, the “best” route depends on what you want your students to experience.

Below I’ve outlined the 5 routes you need to know when building your online course.

The Straight Line

The Straight Line is the simplest route, where all students progress through all the material sequentially. If the students need to see chapter 1 material before being able to do chapter 2, then you want to ensure they go in that order.

This option is great when you need to build something quickly or when students don’t need choices or customization. You pick a sensible sequence through the content and set students on the path you’ve chosen.

Row of sequential topics