Visual content is a guaranteed winner for eLearning because it’s a people magnet. Visual representations can simplify complex information in a way that attracts attention and is easy-to-consume. As an eLearning developer, seek opportunities where you can include images and graphics to achieve your learning objectives.

Create eLearning courses more visual by incorporating these easy techniques: by karla gutierrez 

1) Theme or Brand Your Course

If you feel lost when it comes to the visual design of eLearning courses, why not take a thematic approach? Theme-based courses make your content stand out. The concept, color palette, fonts, design elements and images you use contribute to your course theme. The premise is that every element, visual or non-visual, included in it should help students make a positive impression of your content. The visual theme of your eLearning course should carry through from page to page…getting too creative can end up distracting the learner from the critical information.

P.S. Don’t let your lack of graphic design skills limit your imagination. You can use templates and customize them to match your brand’s style guide and/or topic. SHIFT offers more than 250 professionally designed templates to help you build great looking courses in minutes.

themes elearning

2) Use Infographics and Images of Words and Numbers

Consider including infographics as part of your eLearning course. People love them, and it’s not difficult to understand why. Infographics pack a ton of content in a visual and refreshing way. They are definitely more concise than a textual representation can be. Apart from clarity, this also means less time spent comprehending information— and therefore, more focus. They make data more meaningful and beautiful and, most importantly, they make learning more fun and less boring. With infographics, you can insert colorful bars, pies, charts and graphs to visually represent numbers and percentages.

We know creating infographics is a lot of work. So, if you don’t have enough information for an infographic, that doesn’t mean you still can’t present that data in a visual way. Sometimes a simple table does all the work. Simple data visualization, like the example below, can do wonders to improve an eLearning course.

visual elearning

Tip: Use these tools to create free and awesome infographics: Piktochart and Infogram.

3) Embed a Short Video

Pictures are nice but moving images are nicer. A lot of demos, tutorials and even landing pages make use of short videos to easily capture a viewer’s attention. They can be a great visual way to support your information, and there are several circumstances that lend themselves to this type of visualization:

  1. Need to explain how to do something technical? Avoid a complicated text explanation, and instead consider creating a how-to video to describe it.
  2. Want learners to hear from multiple perspectives? Include an interview. One of the most authentic ways to tell a learning story is to let the experts tell it themselves.
  3. Want to demonstrate how a product works? Make it more compelling with video!

Videos combine texts, images and sounds in order to create an immersive learning environment, or one that hooks your students while helping them learn more effectively.

eLearning video

4) Use High-Quality, Professional-Looking Photos and Images

A big chunk of your eLearning course is made up of text. Yet bombarding your students with long paragraphs is never a good idea. eLearning courses that lack or include very few and irrelevant visual elements are extremely uninviting to the eye. At the very least, include some kind of relevant and engaging photo or image on every screen of your course. Please, just pick something that looks high quality and professional. It doesn’t have to be an expensive stock photo. A Creative Commons image will usually work. Free stock photos can help you explain your point, add emotional depth to your story or narrative and make ideas concrete. Also check out Stock.xchngand Stockvault and other select sites that offer free photos.

visual eLearning

Tip: Zoom in on your pictures. It’s a good way to draw attention to your course. Zoom helps visually represent what is right and the most important aspects of your content.

5) Use Visual Menus 

The usual menu is a text-only list or set of topics. While there’s nothing wrong with this approach, you can improve your menu to benefit students by using visuals. There are many ways to build visual menus, for one, you can create a set of slides and hyperlink an image to link to each slide. This works great if your course is based on a story or narrative. Another is to use a timeline or a flow chart to visually organize ideas based on dates or categories. Subjects such as history and science will largely benefit from these types of visual menus. Check out Cathy Moore’s post for some creative ideas to design the menu and navigation elements for your course.

SHIFT’s pre-built navigation menus, like the example below, are a great option to improve the visual appeal of your eLearning course.

visual eLearning

6) Do Some Formatting 

Formatting only takes a few minutes, but it makes your content meeeeellllions of times easier to get through. Learners don’t want to read a course that’s full of dense text, and nothing else to break it up, right? No matter how high-quality the content of your course is, it doesn’t really matter if no one is going to bother to read it, because it looks like a jumbled mess. Add some bullet points, some numbers, some bold headers, and some images to make your content look much more attractive.


Tags: eLearning