What is the Importance of Colors in E-learning?

What is the Importance of Colors in E-learning?

Colors! Colors! Colors!

What is so important about colors? We anyway use colors in eLearning, then what’s the big deal about which color makes what sense? Do colors really convey some meaning to the learners? Do colors enhance and drive quick learning? If so, HOW?

Colors are powerful a design element of an eLearning course. They:

  • Impact the learners’ mood and improve their focus on learning
  • Draw learners’ attention to the key points that are meant to be conveyed
  • Make a statement/ sense of what is being taught
  • Encourage learning when you have a dry subject

These are a few key benefits of using color in eLearning courses.

Points to note when using colors in eLearning:

  • NOT all colors help effective learning.
  • Do NOT use too many colors in one eLearning course (its better to follow a theme and stay consistent).
  • Keep in mind the color blind learners too!

So how do you know which color is right for your eLearning and its audience? Let’s look at a few prominent colors that can be used in developing eLearning courses. These colors have some meaning and they effect the congnitive aspect of the learners. Hence, our eLearning makes sense when we keep in mind these points while selecting the colors.

RED: This is a warm color. It stimulates the learners’ mood and makes them anxious.

When to use:

  • As it is a warm color, it needs to be used sparingly.
  • It is best to draw attention and point out the key on screen elements (key parts in an image/ key words in a passage).
  • It’s ideal to show the negative aspects, such as disadvantages/ limitations/ don’ts of something.

How to use:


BLUE: It is a cool color. It calms the learners’ mood. It is meant to be the best corporate color in the world. This is the main reason it used in many organizations’ websites.

When to use:

  • As it is a cool color, it helps the learners calm down and read more.
  • Use it when dealing with a dry subject that has loads of overwhelming information.
  • Use it when you need a soothing user interface and have lots of content to read.

How to use: Use it with a combination of other colors, so as to keep your learners awake!


ORANGE: It is a warm color. It lowers the feelings of depression, awakens the brain, and kick starts the learner’s mood. It is one of the vibrant colors and is considered to be the choice of goal seekers.

When to use:

  • As it is a warm color, it’s best to highlight key words on screen rather than using it for the entire text.
  • Use it when dealing with a dry subject that has loads of overwhelming information.

How to use: Use it to highlight the main point taught in each screen as a key takeaway.


GREEN: This is both a cool, (dark green) and warm (light green) color. Dark shades of green add a refreshing look to the course, whereas lighter shades draw attention and enhance learning outcomes.

When to use:

  • As it is both warm and cool depending on the shade, it can be a good choice for the user interface to give a refreshing, peppy look to the course.
  • It is best to give key messages and as a highlighting color (outline for image parts or for arrows and labels).
  • It is good to state any positives, like advantages, purpose, Dos, when teaching about any product/ process.

How to use: Use it cautiously with other colors as wrong combinations can make the screen gawdy.


Yellow: This is a warm color. It prompts the learners’ attention and stimulates their brain. Looking at the color one gets active and his/her brain starts thinking more energetically. Take advantage of that energy by using yellow at specific areas in the course.

When to use:

  • As it is a warm color, remember that it can’t be used too much in a course.
  • Use it to highlight the main points (sticky notes) or as a caution symbol/ alert about what should NOT be done when using a product.
  • Use it to highlight the buttons which the user is expected to click at a given point.

How to use:


Black: It is the basic and standard color used to display text. It is the most powerful color to draw attention and enables good reading of text when compared to any other color.

When to use:

  • Use it to display normal text, use the same color in bold format to emphasize key words.
  • Use it to highlight the headings and sub-headings on a screen.
  • Use black for outlines to define the edges of an image, or for line disgrams for an entire course.
  • Use it as a background color when you want to emphasize the entire content in a page (for example an info-graphic in black makes high mark in learners’ memory).

How to use:


White: Yes, even this basic color helps in learning. It is easy on the eyes and is the standard color used for backgrounds, traditionally for pages in books, and now for slides in courses.

When to use:

  • Use it to leave some white space on-screen when there is too much text on the slides. This prevents the learners’ from getting overwhelmed by heavy text.
  • Use it for text color when you have dark shades of background (mostly used in info-graphics).

How to use:


There are a few colors and points about each one that I always keep in mind when working on my eLearning courses. You might have used some other colors which also look good and make way for easy learning, do share them!

View Presentation on Using Visuals in Elearning to make Learning Effective