Perhaps unsurprisingly to many of use, Google handles over 3.5 billion searches a day, which equates to around 40,000 searches every single second. These are some outstanding statistics and just goes to show the reach that the search engine giant has when it comes to providing people and businesses around the world with the information they need.
There’s no denying that Google is a formidable research tool, which makes it an obvious choice when it comes to the activity of eLearning. However, have you ever stopped to consider just how effective your online searches are?
This is a vital consideration when it comes to the functionality of the search feature in your eLearning platform.
Today, we’re going to explore three essential searching features you can implement into your everyday life, giving you everything you need to master the web and access the information you need.
#1 – Learning the Basics
Somewhat surprisingly, many people are unaware of the basic search engine features that Google has to help you find what you’re looking for. For example, adding quotes (“”) around your specific search terms, i.e. “healthcare statistics” UK, singles out that specific phrase, refining and streamlining your search to provide you with the content that’s most appropriate to you.
Additionally, you can even use a “-“ sign to take search terms out of your Google search. For example, you could write “healthcare statistics UK -obesity”, which will provide you with a tonne of results on healthcare statistics, minus obesity figures.
Melinda Hart, a developer at OriginWritings, shares: “When creating a search feature for your eLearning package, be sure to implement these basic features to help improve your platform’s searching capabilities, so your users can easily find the content they’re looking for”.
#2 – Implement Advanced Search Functions
If you know which website or organisation you want to receive your information from, for example, a specific source that you know to be reliable, you can refine your search even further by searching just this site. You simply need to add the “site:” term, followed by the URL. For example, you can write “grammar tips site: website.com ”. You can add as many sites in this format as you please.
Implement these kinds of advanced features can dramatically cut down and refine the final search results that your user is presented with. Head over to the Google advanced search page, and you’ll find a detailed list over 12+ search features that allow users to break down exactly what they are looking for, including terms such as language, copyright status and date posted.
Trevor Clough, a UX designer for 1Day2write and Writemyx states: “The more options you give your users to refine their searches, the better the searching experience you’re providing them with since they’ll be able to access the content they need with ease. This will dramatically boost the usability of your eLearning platform and be a defining factor when it comes to your success”.
You can even implement other tools into your search feature that can completely enhance your user experience and the overall usability of your platform. There are many tools online that provide quite basic functions for the users but when you combine them into a comprehensive search function, your users will have all the information they could want, especially helpful for eLearning platforms.
This is because people using your platform for researched-based tasks will benefit immensely from extra features that are designed to make their lives easier and more productivity.
#3 – Online/Offline Searching
Speed is an essential factor to consider when it comes to searching. If your platform is taking a while to load the results, the chances of the user abandoning the activity altogether increase dramatically.
Search engines, especially Google, take a tonne of computing resources and calculations to deliver results quickly to the user. However, this speed is typically less than a second or two when it’s connected to the internet.
If your eLearning package is connected to the internet, you can benefit greatly from this speed. But what happens if your users want to use the platform offline? Will they still be able to enjoy similar speeds?
To counter this potential issue, you need to break your search modules into two; online and offline. Typically, an offline module will auto-update itself once a day (or whatever preference you set it too) to carry out all the necessary calculations to ensure that when the users try to use the feature, half of the work is done already.
As you can see, creating a fully-featured search function for your eLearning package isn’t necessarily difficult, but you do need an eye for detail. When it comes to the crunch, providing your users with the best user experience possible is the aim of the game and will be the defining factor when it comes to the success of your platform.