In order for your eLearning course to be effective, your material needs to be engaging, interesting, and interactive.
However, that alone simply isn’t enough. Your course needs to be aesthetically appealing, too. Incorporating elements of graphic design into your eLearning courses will make the information more memorable—and make you look more professional.
Today, we’ll go over 10 graphic design tips for eLearning that you can start incorporating right away.
1. Choose fonts wisely
Readability is your top priority when selecting a font. While it can be tempting to incorporate fonts with style and personality, always consider how it will impact your learners’ ability to digest the information. No matter what, make sure you use fonts that are easily read by your learners. All is lost if your learners can’t read the cool new font you just found. Also remember that different fonts elicit different emotions, so be sure the fonts you select fit the style and mood of the course. Balancing these two aspects will keep learner in the right frame of mind.
2. Keep it simple
When there are too many distracting design elements in your eLearning course, it becomes hard to decipher which graphics are important and which are simply decorations. Keep your courses simple and clean with a few complimentary design elements that run throughout.
3. Use hi-res images
Any time you incorporate stock photos into your course, be sure to use high quality images at a size that doesn’t require you to enlarge them. Stretching images beyond their original size will cause them to lose their crispness (and that’s when things start to look unprofessional.) Pixelated images are a giveaway when it comes to separating the novice eLearning designers from the experts. MorgueFile is one of many places you can look for high quality, free stock imagery.
4. Don’t overload on text
It’s always better to show rather than tell when it comes to the eLearning environment. Keep your blocks of text minimal, and instead, use design elements to demonstrate the concepts you are teaching. Images and diagrams are much more engaging and explanatory than walls of text. Also, if your course is narrated, you shouldn’t put all that speech on the screen. Most eLearning tools (like Articulate Storyline and Adobe Captivate) allow you to include a narration script that’s accessible to the learner; so don’t feel compelled to put all that text onscreen.
5. Negative space is a good thing
So often, designers feel the need to fill in those empty areas that aren’t occupied by text or graphics. Use those areas of negative space to give your information room to breathe. Avoid the temptation to over-clutter. This lets the meaningful graphics you do select stand out. When you have too many things on the screen, learners don’t know where to focus their attention. This actually reduces learner retention and negatively impacts the effectiveness of your course.
6. Don’t let creativity overshadow
While you may have come up with a brilliant new navigation icon or unique format, make sure that it’s still easy to understand for the average user. Your graphic design should make the material more digestible—not more confusing. Too often designers insist on including that cool new thing they came up with, even if they can’t really justify how it helps in the learning process.
7. Pick a color theme
Have a standard color palette that’s used consistently throughout your course for a sense of uniformity. When too many colors get involved, you lose a feeling of cohesiveness. There have been many studies on the impact of color on mood and what those colors mean to different cultures. There’s also lots of information about complimentary colors that look good together to develop a killer color scheme.
8. Incorporate infographics
Infographics are a great way to make groups of statistics stand out in a format that’s not too overwhelming. Pair this with your color and font themes, and you’ve created a piece of material that takes your eLearning content to the next level.
9. Develop a personal style
Your graphic design elements can be a signature of your eLearning coursework when you find a style that fits with your brand. While you don’t want everything to look exactly the same, it helps (especially with a series of modules) for the courses to feel like part of the same family.
10. Keep learning
Graphic design skills don’t come overnight. Find ways to sharpen your abilities on a regular basis and watch them grow stronger over time. Constantly keep your eyes open for quality designs you like and look for quality designs everywhere you normally go, like websites, ads, etc. Determine what looks and styles work and don’t work—and then add the effective ones to your own personal approach over time. Don’t get frustrated if cultivating your style and your skills takes a while—nothing worth doing is easy.
If you can tie all of these tips together and start implementing them into your eLearning course development, your work will speak for itself. Graphic design is hugely important in the eLearning industry, so make sure you’re devoting proper attention to graphic design that stands the test of time.