3 min read

Three Quick eLearning Design Tips

By Kyle O'Brien on Jul 19, 2013 4:56:34 AM

ej4 Blog - Three Quick eLearning Design Tips

I was talking to one of my friends a few weeks back, and I started telling him about what ej4 does. He then proceeded to tell me about his recent training experience at work. He’s a salesman for a large distribution company and the day came when he and the other salespeople got into a room and watched a video on sexual harassment and bullying in the workplace. I asked him how the video was and he put it bluntly, “There was a weird cartoon character bouncing up and down talking about sexual harassment laws. It lost me after that.”

Cartoon character, fail. Rather, maybe it wasn't the cartoon misfire as much as it was a cartoon delivering a serious training issue to employees. Doesn't matter which reason he picks, the message obviously didn't stick.

Which brings us to my next point: eLearning courses require more than just a great storyline, they need sensible aesthetics as well.

Here are three ways to create better visuals that help engage your employees more.


Visuals That Make Sense to The Message

If the visuals aren't in line with the content, it’s almost a guarantee that some will lose interest quickly.  Like the story in the beginning, if you’re trying to deliver a serious tone but you have cartoons zipping around the screen, or plant way too many photos or fonts around the presenter, you’re creating an unwanted distraction. That’s not to say you can’t have caricatures in your design, you just have to make sure there’s a fine balance between delivering the message and showing it.


Simple Designs Can Be an Eye-Opener

The rate at which objects and visuals are judged is mind-numbingly fast. Google revealed that people assess the visual appeal of something in under 50 milliseconds. Respondents to that visual context survey mentioned how distracting or inviting a certain design layout was. They complained of text being too blurry. Certain fonts were too small. There were too many pop up actions in and around a central part of the presentation.

On the other hand, others highlighted how the less is more approach to visual storytelling is key. That sometimes the simplest gestures in your course design are rewarded with higher retention. Things like having bullet points appear and disappear in the same fashion on every slide, using the same fonts and colors (or if need be, adding color to fonts that’s just the right noise) throughout, and having just the right amount of visual cues to help tell the story, instead of be the story.


Visually Arresting Design Is Great, Too

Just as much as simple designs can help a training video stand out, putting memorable visual cues behind the scenes can keep your employees vested in the video and the content offered up.

Think back, if you will, to the best movies you've seen and why they were so great. My personal favorite, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, had one of the greatest storylines, but more importantly, it was a visual marvel that kept peeling back more wonderful layers with each repeat viewing. Great movies test your senses and become a place to get lost in over and over. Soon enough, you’re connecting visual cues to audible ones with ease, allowing you to easily retain what you just watched (reciting lines, telling friends about your favorite scenes, etc.).

That doesn't mean you have to make your visuals look like something out of a Pixar movie or some action blockbuster; just create enough visual flair that helps your employees follow the message being delivered.

Want to see how instructional design and visually appealing graphics connect with your employees? Take a free trial through our campus today.


Kyle O'Brien

Written by Kyle O'Brien

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