Our top tips for great digital learning design

Dec 09 2016

It’s easy to get distracted by the content when designing a new digital learning experience. However, force feeding content slabs will just induce your learners to sleep not study. Digital learning needs to be visually engaging and stimulating. But that costs I hear you say. Well – not necessarily.

Here are our top 10 tips for introducing visual polish and pizzazz to your next eLearning design without needing to hire a graphic design whizz…

  1. Design around a visual centerpiece. The aim of a graphic is to highlight the importance of a particular piece of information and make it more relevant. If your graphic doesn’t do either, then leave a blank space. Seriously. White space is not ugly.
  2. Only put what is essential to illustrate the learning point on the page. A digital elearning canvas is not the right place to create your graphic design portfolio. See point 1.
  3. Decide your style guide up front, keep it simple (and stick to it!). There’s nothing worse than being visually assaulted by random or garish colour palettes, fonts and or cryptic wingding bullet points.
  4. Make images and text easy on the eye. Though a font may look sexy at first… it may not be so sexy to read for 30 – 60 minutes. I'm the first to appreciate a Comic Sans header. If you make me read it beyond a header though - I feel quite grumpy inside
  5. Use style patterns to flag important learning points. Consistent use of headings, subheadings and font styles are easy ways to alert your learner to note and remember key points and concepts.
  6. Consider your content layout upfront. Learners process visually from left to right and top to bottom. Put key points and concepts at the top or right of the screen.
  7. Avoid scary big blocks of text. You’re creating digital learning not an eBook. If needs be chunk information down rather than create long pages.
  8. Make sure audio and visual are well produced. Clunky productions are more distracting (in the awkward Fawlty Towers kind of way) than engaging. If you can't curate well spoken and presented audio and visual in your own organisation - buy it. It'll be money well spent.
  9. Make course navigation intuitive. There’s nothing worse than searching high and low to find the back and forward buttons, resorting to your browser to undertake the job.. only to find your session terminated. Gggggrrr.
  10. Pleasurable visual design must not trump learning design. If the only way your learning point can be communicated coherently and simply is by text… do that. Graphics for the sake of it are a no no. Go cartoonise a selfie for pleasure if you must.

To learn more about best practice Instructional Design, why not take our online course. Check it out at