USE OF EMBEDDED HYPERLINKS
Visualize your course like cars in a lane of traffic. The cars, of course, are your students. Traffic signals are the menus, questions, and other interactions programmed into your course. Finally, there are the curbs or street barriers that keep the traffic, students, flowing in the right direction. The curbs represent your instructional objectives, upon which all content, testing, questions, and quizzes are based.
Casual use of embedded links is an invitation for cars in your traffic lane to jump the curb and go into any "unknown" direction. It's the unknown that's the problem.
Programs are painstakingly developed for the successful accomplishment of the stated objectives. Therefore, any "unknown" content the student might encounter after deviating from the course via an embedded link can/will result in a dilution of the relevant content and decreased retention.
Well-designed courses try to control access to content to only that required to achieve the objectives.
- If designers can't control the content when linking out, they should invesitgate ways of bringing the web-referenced content into their design. Capturing the desired information and including into your course materials confines the instructional content to the course/topic objectives. Citing the source with a hyperlink in a manner that disassociates it from the instructional content is a better approach.
- Abundent use of embedded hyperlinks is problematic of course maintenance. Hyperlinks are prone to "breakage," termed broken links, that then need to be identified, updated, or removed.
- Some broken hyperlinks could require a major update to a course. Based on the degree course content obtained via hyperlink is relied upon throughout the course, significant design changes may be necessary.