All of us are familiar with the bitten apple and the tick mark. Wondering what I’m talking about? Well, you would have guessed it by now! Am talking about Apple and Nike. The mere sight of these symbols in any media links our minds to the companies. That is the power of visuals. They have the power to drive the point home with unerring accuracy in a way even a thousand words may fail to.
Now consider a scenario where you are attending a presentation. Imagine each screen being visually different from the other – one screen has icons, one with real images, another with graphs, vector images etc. – all in different colors without any uniformity or consistency. How would you feel after 15 minutes of such a presentation? Even if the speaker is a good orator and keeps you hooked to the presentation, the different things happening on screen will, in the best case scenario distract your attention, and give you a headache in the worse case.
What does that mean? Visuals need to be uniform, consistent, and connected to the topic to enhance their effectiveness and maximize their impact on learning and retention.
In today’s corporate scenario, E-learning is being used extensively to train global workforces on a wide range of topics – from HR and compliance policies to product, software, and internal process/procedures trainings. When you rollout e-learning courses, it is essential that you establish their identity visually. This implies that your courses should reflect the topic in all visual aspects.
Visual Identity at the GUI Level
At a broad level, this means ensuring your GUI (Graphical User Interface) reflects the topic. This can be done by modifying the GUI or incorporating appropriate icons. (The screenshots given below demonstrate this.) Have a single GUI for your e-learning courses and tweak it to reflect the individual aspects of each course.
This will orient learners and visually reinforce the topic being handled. It will also lend a comprehensive, authentic visual dimension to the course. Taking care of such details will grab their attention, and build their anticipation of what the course has in store.
This attention has to be sustained and taken forward by handling individual screens effectively. Let’s see a few instances of how this can be done.
Visual Identity at the Individual Screen Level
On a smaller but extensive scale, the rule of establishing visual identity applies to the individual screens of the entire course. As discussed earlier, we need to augment the interest piqued by the GUI.
This can be done by using a common theme for the entire course – using elements such as a particular color scheme, icons in a particular set of colors, etc.
For instance, we recently developed a course for a not-for-profit, industry-led global standards body. The course dealt with the use of RFID technology in the Apparel industry. The course was developed with the consistent use of icons in 2 shades. The entire course followed a similar pattern and the result was a very engaging, visually attractive course.
Similarly, if your course deals with safety rules, you can incorporate related icons and graphics to lend a consistent feel and give your learners a theme they can identify with.
Using themes to develop courses will orient your learners, focus their attention on the topic being dealt with, and lend a consistent look and feel.
Have other ways of incorporating the use of themes? Do share with us.