Whenever I design an eLearning course, I ensure that the course is user-friendly and the learners can make the most out of it. For this purpose, I make extensive use of visuals and graphics. Graphics are a good way to replace text in online courses and reduce the cognitive load. They go a long way in enhancing the efficacy of eLearning courses and help optimize learning. As a result, they play a key role in improvingthe performance of employees.
But, when you use graphics in your course, you need to make sure that the graphics go with your content. It is important to see that the graphics you use are ‘instructive’ and not ‘decorative’. Here are a few tips that you can follow when using graphics in an eLearning course.
Tip #1 Use representational visuals to show actual appearance
It is common knowledge that a good eLearning course enables the learner to apply the knowledge gained to his job. Representative visuals, which are photographs used to depict concepts visually, are very useful tools to help your people transfer their learning to the workplace. They are very effective because they are ‘real’ visuals and your staff members can relate to them easily. Here is the photograph of goods in a seaport.
Tip #2 Use organizational visuals to show qualitative relationships
According to Ruth Colvin Clark and Chopeta Lyons, an organizational visual is a knowledge representation that uses shapes and text to illustrate various types of qualitative relationships among the content. It is very useful to reduce excessive load of longer texts.Organizational visuals can be used to in online courses to teach a variety of subjects. Here is the screenshot of an organizational visual used in a course on supply chain management.
Tip #3 Use relational visuals to communicate quantitative relationships
Graphs and charts can be used to depict a large amount of information in a learner-friendly manner.They are often used to explain the quantitative relationships between different variables.
Tip #4 Use transformational visuals with on-screen contiguous text
Transformational visuals are used to show changes that take place over time. They provide directions, feedback and memory support. Transformational visuals are the ideal tools to depict the steps of a procedure or process. You can use either dynamic visuals or static visuals, based on the learner’s prior knowledge. Show static stills first, followed by an animation or a video to reduce cognitive load. Here is the screenshot of a graphic that shows a caterpillar transforming into a butterfly.
Tip #5 Use interpretive visuals to depict ‘invisible’ and abstract concepts
Instructional designers find it hard to explain certain abstract concepts. In such cases, you can use Interpretive visuals, which illustrate theory, principle, cause-effect relationships.
Efficient use of visuals enhances the effectiveness of your eLearning course and helps your people learn better. Hope you find this post interesting. Do share your views.