How Important is CRAP in E-learning?

How Important is CRAP in E-learning?

There are many principles of visual design that help in designing an eLearning course. But, it’s important to remember that a good design is based on four overarching principles called – CRAP, which stands for Contrast, Repetition, Alignment and Proximity. In this post, I will explain these principles (adapted from Robin William’s work).


The word contrast means difference. Strong contrast makes the object visually appealing, whereas weak contrast is boring to watch. It is the most important element of design and the factors that influence this element are:

  • Size
  • Color
  • Spacing
  • Positioning



The word repetition means reusing the same elements throughout. Repetition of important design elements brings consistency in the design and thus gives a professional and standardized look.
For example, using standardized templates such as:

  • Introduction page
  • Assessment page
  • Interactivity page


Also, icons such as example, more info, and note can be designed once and used throughout.


Alignment means how you organize various elements on a screen. Slides that have alignment create a visual flow and give a sophisticated look. Check for double spaces and the space between title and paragraphs. The most important point in alignment is widow text, that is, the ending line of a paragraph, should not fall at the beginning of the next slide/line. The alignment of images and their size should be proper. Placement of images should serve the purpose of education, not just decoration.



Proximity means grouping related elements and separating unrelated ones.It shows how objects are placed in relation to each other and reduces clutter.


Some of the examples of proximity include:

  • Showing caption of the image close to it.
  • Showing all contact information such as mobile number, e-mail ID, address as a group makes it easy for the learner to read.

These are some important principles to cross check your design elements. I hope you find them useful.

View E-book on Instructional Design 101: A Handy Reference Guide to E-learning Designers