A picture paints a thousand words and is very effective in communicating what often can’t be said through words. A picture can also break the monotony of words and present a breath of fresh air. Right from childhood, all of us are fascinated by pictures, their vivid hues and the depth of emotions they evoke.
So, can this simple, effective tool be used in eLearning? How do we harness its power to create online learning courses which capture learners’ attention and lend a rich visual appeal?
Well, images can be used in myriad ways in an eLearning course. In this blog, I will highlight one particular usage – image icons.
Icons are very versatile in that they:
- Convey the idea succinctly, in eye-catching ways
- Are readily available for a wide range of topics
- Can be used to convey even abstract topics effectively
Often, eLearning courses can tend be verbose and content heavy, with the imminent danger of irking learners and making them lose interest in the course. In such situations, it can be a good idea to use image icons.
Before we look at image icons and their benefits, let us see what a computer icon is according to Wikipedia.
A computer icon is a pictogram displayed on a computer screen in order to help the user navigate a computer system or mobile device. The icon itself is a small picture or symbol serving as a quick, “intuitive” representation of a software tool, function or a data file accessible on the system. It functions as an electronic hyperlink or file shortcut to access the program or data.
Image Icons – Example
How to Use Icons?
Read the content thoroughly and identify common elements such as ‘Tips’, ‘Examples’, ‘More Info’, ‘Point to Note’, ‘Graph’, etc. and create common icons for them. These icons can them be made clickable and used in the individual slides wherever needed to reveal the respective content. This helps:
- Make the slide (course) visually appealing
- Provide leaners a consistent look and feel throughout the course
Apart from this, identify content which can be represented effectively through icons and use the icons either as an info-graphic or an interactivity to present the content.
The key is not to go overboard. Yes, using too many icons of different styles and colors can actually distract learners from the course and make the course look garish.
Hence, always ensure that:
- The icons used are of the same style/colors
- Icons are used minimally, wherever effective and essential
Don’t use icons just for the sake of using them. Use them if appropriate and use them sparingly to obtain the maximum benefits of effective learning and the ‘wow’ factor.
Keep these simple tips in mind and use icons to make your eLearning courses visually rich, appealing and iconic!!!
Have more ideas on this subject? Do share with us.