Designers have a responsibility to support the content (text), with relevant graphics in a creative way. Irrelevant visuals can divert learning while decorative visuals could increase mental load. Therefore, a visual designer needs to be very particular, when choosing graphics for a course.
In e-Learning, we have different types of graphics, to support content. They could be layout design, typography, icons, info graphics and characters. In this blog, I would like to focus on using characters in eLearning courses.
Characters are a powerful graphic type, which can directly relate the learners. They (Characters) are also called as Avatars, Guides, Learning agents and so on. Characters help connect learners to the course and hold their attention.
A lot of thought goes into designing a character. It depends on the profile of learners, time available for development of the course, cost involved and the bandwidth available to learners.
Let’s look at some types of Characters and how they are useful in making an e-Learning course effective.
These characters are very easy to create and are mainly used for Storytelling and process explanations etc as in process training.
We can create and animate these characters in very short span of time. We use these characters mostly in intro animations, or to explain something in a humorous manner. Doodles, not only attract the attention of learners, but also helps them retain information, without losing focus on the subject.
Iconic Characters help in developing better communication between users and the application interface. They are used for better recall and immediate recognition.
Clip Art Characters
Clip Art Characters describe any scenario in an image format, without the need for animations. They have the power to explain the situation or scenario, on their own.
Silhouettes will give an overview or outline of characters, without focusing on details. Silhouettes are useful when you want the learner to focus on the concept, without getting distracted with the details.
Vector characters are good for animation and presentations. With these characters we can make effective and engaging eLearning courses. One great advantage of using these characters is that, when you want to re-purpose them or, reuse in printable format, it can be done without loss of quality. For example: 3D Humanoids
Humanoid characters are used to eliminate gender & cultural bias. Would be useful to create culture-neutral eLearning courses.
Stock Images (photographs)
Stock Images are used to explain real scenario and help to get on-the-job experience. It would be useful in scenario-based eLearning courses.
To get an actual look and feel of how such characters look in a course, click the Play button to see the demo.