4 Tips To Use Color in eLearning

In this article, I'll share the basics of using colors to enhance the aesthetic appeal and effectiveness of your eLearning deliverable. I'll even discuss how each color can create a specific mood or effect, in order to make your eLearning course more meaningful and memorable for your target audience.
4 Tips To Use Color in eLearning

How To Use Color in eLearning

One of the most effective ways to boost learners’ engagement and help them emotionally connect to your eLearning course is to integrate color into your eLearning design. Even if don't have very much experience in the eLearning industry, color can give you the opportunity to transform any subject matter into a successful eLearning course, thanks to the fact that the human brain has the power to convert color into emotions and moods.

  1. Have an idea of the mood you're trying to achieve beforehand.
    Always have a clear idea of the mood or feelings you are trying to convey through the use of color in eLearning. This will allow you to prevent creating a mood that goes against what you are trying to achieve. For instance, if your goal is to create an eLearning course that helps to make a dull subject matter fun and engaging, then you may want to choose red or orange.
  2. Don't go overboard when utilizing color in eLearning.
    Stick with just two or three colors throughout the eLearning course, as any more than that will make the overall eLearning design look chaotic and disorganized. It can even prevent the learner from acquiring the information, given that they will feel overwhelmed or distracted by the abundance of colors. I've seen a variety of eLearning courses over the years that have featured virtually every color in the rainbow...all in one module. This will only serve to confuse the learners and take away from the value of the eLearning course by making it look cluttered and unprofessional.
  3. Never sacrifice legibility for aesthetic design.
    If at all possible, always prefer the warmer shades of the colors that you chose to use. This will help to increase readability and prevent any contrast issues, especially if you are using a white background. If it's a choice between using a color that you love, even though it doesn't offer enough contrast, or using one that will be more legible for the learners, always go with the latter. Readability should never be sacrificed for visual appeal.
  4. Consider your learning audience's background.
    Different cultures affix different meanings to colors. For example, one culture might believe that red is off-putting, while another might consider it energizing and lucky. So, you'll want to research the background of your audience before deciding upon your ideal colors. In addition, consider their age, religion, and educational background since these have a direct impact upon their preferences and their interpretations to certain colors. Also, remember that some learners may be color blind. Therefore, you'll also want to highlight key points by using different font types, underlining them or placing them in boxes.

So, which colors should you use in your next eLearning deliverable?

  • Red
    Symbolic of passion, energy, and excitement. If you want to guide your learners’ attention to important information or want to boost their motivation, then you may want to go with red. This color can also be ideal for situations that call for immediacy. For example, if you want learners to ponder a particular topic or direct them to a specific section of the eLearning course or module at that very moment, using red can bring about a sense of urgency.
  • Orange
    The color of optimism, communication, and mental stimulation. If you're dealing with a dull or complicated subject matter, use orange in order to make it seem more relatable and upbeat. Also, if you're trying to boost learners’ creativity, then you may want to consider adding orange into your eLearning deliverable's color palette.
  • Yellow
    Symbolic of optimism, intellect, and cheerfulness. It can also help to boost memory and stimulate mental function. If you're trying to increase knowledge retention or make a potentially dull subject more exciting, opt for yellow. Be careful that it's a warmer shade, however, as bright yellow can be hard to read on the screen.
  • Blue
    Reflects feelings of peace, calm, and trust. It also happens to be the most favorable color. Blue is the go-to color for eLearning professionals who are looking for a way to transform a complex subject into one that is easily absorbed, given that it helps to make the subject matter seem less confusing and complicated.
  • Green
    The color of growth, balance, and tranquility. It's the ideal color to use when you're striving for a fresh design that is balanced. It is also known as the color of peace, which means that you may want to use green if you're trying to settle nervous learners before a big exam.
  • Purple
    Symbolic of imagination, fun, and sophistication. If you're trying to create a more upbeat learning atmosphere or one that encourages learners to have fun and get excited about the educational process, then purple is the ideal choice. Opt for purples with blue undertones when striving for a relaxed mood, and more red undertones if you're trying to excite and engage learners.
  • Brown
    This color brings about feelings of security and friendliness, while still conveying a sense of seriousness. If you're looking for a more neutral color that also helps to balance out the overall mood of the eLearning course, then you may want to go with brown.

Keep these color in eLearning tips on hand when designing your next eLearning course, so that you can make even the most dry and dull subject matter into an exciting and interactive learning experience for your audience.

Also, to develop an eLearning course that is meaningful and powerful for the learners, emotional connectivity is a key aspect. If you are interested to learn more, I highly encourage you to read the article 4 Tips To Design Emotionally Driven eLearning Courses. In this article, I’ll offer some tips on how to create eLearning courses that appeal to learners’ emotional nature so as to engage and motivate them.

In addition, if you are looking for additional ways on how to create aesthetically pleasing eLearning courses, the article Tips to Create Aesthetically Pleasing eLearning Courses features 7 invaluable tips that will help you engage your learners while allowing them to achieve the best aesthetically pleasing eLearning experience!

Last but not least, you may find valuable the article Graphic Design Tips for eLearning Success that features 10 graphic design tips that each and every eLearning professional should be familiar with.

References

Psychological Effects of Color
How Color Affects Our Mood
Psychological Properties Of Colours
How Colors Impact Moods, Feelings, and Behaviors

 
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