How To Create Aesthetically Pleasing eLearning Courses
More often than not, the eLearning course content is considered to be the most important aspect of instructional design. While the information you are providing to your learners should be of high quality, you should also have in mind that the method of presentation is just as essential. Thus, creating eye-catching, visually appealing eLearning courses should be one of your primary objectives when developing eLearning courses.
- Keep it simple and straightforward.
First and foremost, decide what you want to include and what you can do without. This goes for content and design elements. Keep things concise, simple, and to the point for maximum effect. If you crowd the eLearning course with too many graphics or too much text, then this will only serve to overwhelm the learner (which hinders overall knowledge and skill retention). So, instead, opt for simplistic designs without creating a sense of chaos and clutter.
- Create uniformity by using a template and style guide.
The most important aspect of your eLearning course, in terms of visual appeal, is going to be its consistency and cohesiveness. Are you using the same types of font all throughout, or are you changing up the fonts at every screen? Are you sticking with a set color scheme that makes the eLearning course look well organized? By creating a style guide and outline, you gain the ability to create an eLearning course that is not only aesthetically pleasing, but easy to use too. Pay careful attention to the borders you use, as well as the backgrounds. Try to keep the eLearning course design layout as simple as possible (don't use busy backgrounds for text pages, as this will distract the user). Make sure that all buttons are in the same place on each page and that all text is aligned. These are all small things that make a big difference when it comes to the design of your eLearning course.
- Use multimedia to fully engage the learner.
Utilize a variety of different multimedia in order to boost learner engagement and knowledge retention. Integrate videos, images, and audio into the eLearning course design, ensuring that they fit in well with the overall objectives and layout of the eLearning course. This will enable you to make the learners active participants within their own educational process, and allow them to learn more and retain more information throughout the eLearning course. Multimedia tools also significantly add to the overall aesthetic appeal and cater to different learning needs. If possible, use scenarios that include multimedia elements, as this will provide the user with the opportunity to engage in reality based learning activities that they can also apply outside the eLearning environment.
- Make an old concept new by taking a different eLearning design approach.
One of the most effective ways to make your eLearning course eye-catching and aesthetically pleasing is to think of new ways to offer existing content. Gone are those days when text based courses were the norm. Today, eLearning design often features interactive lessons and activities that allow the learner to become fully engaged. Don't just create text boxes or run-of-the-mill quizzes. Instead, offer content in the form of interactive scenarios that feature images or videos, or create online tests that include audio or visual components. Ideally, the primary goal should be to present the necessary information in the most creative way possible, without losing the content's educational value.
- Include hyperlinks to outside references and resources.
You no longer need to have large blocks of quoted text in order to convey an idea or concept that derives from an outside source. Thanks to eLearning, you can now simply add hyperlinks into your eLearning course, which direct the user to important data, information, or forms that are relevant. This means that they still have the ability to quickly and conveniently access information, without the instructional designer having to sacrifice the flow and aesthetic appeal of the eLearning course itself. So, direct the learners towards different sites that may provide additional information on the topic or reference resources that they can turn to, if they want to learn more about the subject materials.
- Keep the eLearning course's navigability in mind.
While the aesthetic appeal of the design may be of paramount importance, it's essential to keep the eLearning course's navigability in mind as well. After all, even a stunning eLearning course design with informative content and plenty of multimedia presentations isn't going to be helpful to the learners if they cannot navigate through the eLearning modules. Make sure that there are no extraneous links or buttons, and that each eLearning screen directs the user to the next, without unnecessary images or text becoming a distraction.
- Develop an eLearning template that allows for easy maintenance.
You will also want to keep the eLearning course’s maintenance in mind. Will it be easy to maintain the overall design of the eLearning course? Is it going to be easy and convenient to upload new content into the modules, or will the new design pose a problem when it comes time to update the information within the course? A visually appealing course must be easy to upkeep, or else it will gradually lose its form, function, and organization.
To conclude, the overall design of your eLearning course will have an impact upon the learners’ eLearning experience. Psychologically speaking, an eLearning course that is well created and developed will allow the learners to get more out of the eLearning course, given that it provides them with a more cohesive and visually appealing eLearning environment. A well designed eLearning course also forms a favorable first impression upon learners, who then are more likely to feel as though the eLearning course is of high quality and worth both their investment of time and, if applicable, their money.
Last but not least, for an in depth eLearning Course Design checklist that you can use to get your eLearning courses ready for launch check The Ultimate eLearning Course Design Checklist. Plus, you may want to check the ultimate source for Free eLearning Resources! At the Over 1000 Free eLearning Resources you will find from 15 Free eLearning Authoring Tools, 17 Open Source LMSs, and 72 free eLearning storyboard templates, to 259 free educational technology tools that I hope will help you develop your next eLearning course!