eLearning Design

The Beginners Guide to Visual Design for eLearning

Graham Newey

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Visual design in eLearning is the use of visual elements in digital learning content with the goal of boosting engagement, increasing learner attention and elevating the overall learning experience. It’s much more than simply adding graphical elements. It’s a vast area that spans layout, colour theory, typography and even user interface (UI) design, all these visual elements work together to create an aesthetically pleasing and engaging digital learning environment.

According to the Digital Learning Institute, 40% of people respond best to visuals with the human brain processing images 60,000 times faster than it does textual information. Using visual design aspects in your learning is an incredibly powerful way of holding the attention of your learners.

In this blog, I will be diving into the most common questions that learners often ask when it comes to creating fantastic visual design that drives results.

Why is visual design important in eLearning?

Visual design plays a crucially significant role in eLearning and is the secret ingredient to keeping your learners fully engaged and helping them to consolidate information through visual cues.

As L&D professionals, we often have to create digital learning content for less ‘exciting’ topics such as compliance or health and safety. Having visually appealing content is an essential part of sparking and keeping the interest of your learners.

To achieve this, there are a few key factors to consider when designing your eLearning:

  1. Incorporate imagery such as graphics to keep your content interesting
  2. Tailor your content to your desired audience and consider their needs
  3. Make your text easily understandable and break it up into smaller, manageable chunks
  4. Consider the accessibility needs of your users (e.g. using accessibility friendly colours)
  5. Ensure that your training content remains consistent in design and layout

How can I incorporate branding and company guidelines into my eLearning design?

For many individuals within L&D, the hardest part of perfecting the visual design of their eLearning is making sure their content ‘fits’ the branding guidelines of their organisation. I quite frequently hear that company branding is very limiting or that it’s hard for them to make appealing content with their organisation’s colour palette.

But, I am here to give you hope and say that creating interesting designs while following brand guidelines is possible! Here’s how…

Fully understand brand guidelines

Although it may sound obvious, the first important step to design success is to thoroughly understand the brand guidelines of your organisation. Ask yourself questions such as: How can I use the logo? What colour palette can I use? What font can I use? And lastly, are there any design elements that I can integrate into my design?

Use business guidelines to leverage your designs

It’s important to be strategic about how you apply guidelines to your designs. For example, if the dominant colour within your guidelines is a bright colour it wouldn’t necessarily be appropriate to paint an entire slide with that colour. Instead, I would recommend using that colour as an accent to make your content ‘pop’ and avoid overwhelming your learners.

Create your own

Once you find an effective way of working within your organisation’s brand guidelines, you can develop your own concise style guide that is specifically for your eLearning materials and any project templates you may have. This method saves time and makes it easy to keep your content consistent particularly within large projects.

What tools and software can I use to create effective eLearning visual design?

There are a large amount of software and tools on the market that can help you create striking visuals. But, to help narrow down your search here are three fantastic options to get you started.

For beginners

Canva is a user-friendly web-based graphic design platform that enables users to create visual content such as graphics, documents, presentations, marketing materials, social media posts, and more. It has gained popularity among businesses and individuals from various sectors as it offers a wide range of templates that look great and require no expertise in graphic design.

For inspiration

Awwwards.com is a great resource to find inspiration for your projects, even if they are not specifically related to eLearning. With hundreds of examples that are constantly updated, you will always find something to spark your creativity. If you are looking for eLearning specific inspiration, the Articulate E-Learning Heroes Community is a highly useful resource.

For those with a creative eye

Adobe Creative Cloud (Adobe CC) is a robust suite of software tools that are widely used by visual designers for various creative purposes. While it may not be the easiest option for the average L&D professional, investing time and effort in mastering tools like Illustrator, InDesign, After Effects or Premiere Pro can help you enhance your eLearning projects and have more creative freedom, rather than depending on templates.

The power of great visual design

The power of visual design in your digital learning content should not be underestimated. A thoughtfully designed and visually appealing eLearning course can be the difference between disengaged and engaged learners. It’s a vital part of boosting engagement, increasing knowledge retention and ‘hooking’ your learners. Through combining creativity and strategy, creating striking and effective eLearning is not just a dream but a reachable reality for L&D professionals.

If you would like to find out more about how you can create your own spectacular learning, talk to our training team today at [email protected] or explore our latest course Visual Design for Learning here.

Omniplex Learning Training

Visual Design for Learning

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