In my previous post, Elements of Web-based Learning Design – Part 1, we saw how to conduct a good analysis of online learners’ needs. Today, we will look at another vital aspect of e-learning design – formulation of a visual design (VD) strategy.
Why is it Important to Come up with a Good VD Strategy?
The proper use of visuals helps retain learning longer and conveys the intended message faster. Good visuals enhance comprehension levels in a big way and enable learners to connect instantly with the technology-enabled learning material.
How to Formulate the Winning VD Strategy for Web-based Training Materials?
Focus on the following five key aspects when you design a VD strategy for your online course.
1. Make Sure You Use Relevant Images
While it is true that visuals play an important role in enhancing the effectiveness of e-learning courses, using visuals that don’t add “learning value” can reduce the efficacy of online learning content. See that the graphics you use are relevant to the content presented in the web-based course and help achieve the learning objectives. For instance, you can use process diagrams to depict the steps of a process. Similarly, you can use images to explain the differences between objects. Using decorative visuals such as borders or unrelated visuals, just to fill up screen space is not a good practice.
2. Use Appropriate Colors
Colors are a powerful design element of an e-learning course because they impact learners’ mood. So, it is necessary to use the right colors to have the desired results. For instance, use Red to draw attention and point out the key onscreen elements. You can also use the color to highlight negative aspects, such as such as the disadvantages/ limitations/ don’ts of something. On the other hand, use Green in the GUI of the online course to give it a refreshing, peppy look. Get more insights here on the impact of colors on web-based learning design.
3. Remember Learners Love Contrast
Use contrasting colors, shapes, and images in the design of your technology-enabled learning content. Sarah Bright, in her post Ten Graphic Design Tips for E-learning, points out that contrasting visual elements help hold the attention of learners. Furthermore, using contrasting colors enables you to highlight important points easily.
4. Leave Room for Whitespace
Don’t be afraid to “include” whitespaces in your online course design. Gisele Muller, in her article Whitespace in Web Design: What It Is and Why You Should Use It, states that the proper use of whitespace enables designers to present content in a nice, simple, and elegant way. She also points out that it would make reading easier, thereby delivering enjoyable learning experiences. Here are some innovative ideas to use whitespaces in the design of web-based content, that can be applied to e-learning design as well.
5. Go for Scaled Vector Graphics (SVGs)
It is a well-known fact that today’s learners use multiple devices to access web-based training content. See that the images you use in your online course can be rendered effectively on diverse devices with varying screen sizes. Use SVGs in the e-learning content to deliver optimal viewing experiences. These images scale up according to the size of the screen, and thereby appear clearly on the screens of all devices.
A good VD strategy plays a key role in enhancing the effectiveness of a web-based course. By focusing on the aspects discussed above, you can formulate the winning VD strategy for your online course.