OSCQR – Standard #13

OSCQR – Standard #13

Frequently used technology tools are easily accessed. Any tools not being utilized are removed from the course menu.

Review These Explanations

Findability refers to the ease with which users can find and access specific information on a website. In an online course, findability is key as learners need to be able to quickly locate resources that they are required to use on a regular basis.

Learners reported much lower levels of efficiency and motivation within online courses with low findability (Simunich, Robins, & Kelly 2015). When required to spend extra time sorting through links to unrelated course tools, learners become frustrated and sidetracked.

When faced with a large variety of LMS tools, it is important for course developers and faculty to select the tools that learners will be using most frequently, and make prominent links to those tools.

If resources or tools are no longer being used in the course, be sure to remove associated links from any course menus. Learners rely on consistent navigation cues (established menus, etc.), however a link to a tool that they no longer need can be considered a distraction in the course.


Simunich, B., Robins, D. B., & Kelly, V. (2015). The Impact of Findability on Student Motivation, Self-Efficacy, and Perceptions of Online Course Quality. American Journal of Distance Education, 29(3), 174-185.

Refresh Your Course with These Ideas

General Suggestions

  • Establish a routine of checking course links when launching a new week or module.
  • Use the learner preview mode on a regular basis to check on what the learners are seeing, and explore their findability experience yourself.
  • Create a survey for your learners at the beginning of the course to get feedback on the available links to tools in the course, and their findability value.
  • If you have created a course scavenger hunt or syllabus quiz, go through it yourself to see if all course links to tools are appropriate, up to date, and easily findable.

Explore Related Resources

Fisher, E. A., and V. H. Wright. 2010. Improving online course design through usability testing. Journal of Online Learning and Teaching 6 (1): 228–245. Irizarry, R. 2002.
Morville, P. 2005. Ambient findability. Sebastopol, CA: O’Reilly.

Share What You Know

OSCQR has been developed by a community of online practitioners interested in quality course design. There are numerous opportunities for community members to offer suggestions, donate resources, and help with future development.

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