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E‑learning Design: E‑learning Essentials

E-learning Essentials

CDC’s E‑learning Essentials guide discusses six instructional components essential to quality e-learning and explains how to use them effectively.

The chart below summarizes each component. Select a component in the left column to go to that section within the pdf version of CDC’s E‑learning Essentials.

CDC’s E‑learning Essentials
Components and Best Practices


Best Practices


E‑learning products are based on results of analyses that identify target audiences and inform their needs by focusing on

  • Knowledge or skills to be learned
  • Clear and measurable learning objectives
  • Strategies that support learning

E‑learning products facilitate learning by applying interactive strategies that engage learners and stimulate recall of prior knowledge. Different levels of interactivity can be used to suit the content and audience needs. All interactions work within the organization's web architecture and meet the organization's accessibility requirements, such as Section 508.

Interface and Navigation

E‑learning interface is learner‑friendly with a main menu and other navigational elements that help learners know where they are within the course and move easily through it.


E‑learning content is accurate and reading level is appropriate for the audience. Information is succinct, logical, and clearly divided through the effective use of color, graphics, borders, and white space. All screen elements adhere to organizational guidelines for digital media.

Product Evaluation

E‑learning products undergo formative and summative evaluations to ensure that learning strategies are effective and long lasting.

Learning Assessment

E‑learning products include an assessment that can be completed by all learners. This assessment determines the product's impact on intended learning outcomes.

  • Page last reviewed: February 1, 2014
  • Page last updated: February 1, 2014
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