Beauty Isn’t Everything: 5 Aesthetics You Should Eliminate From Your eLearning Course Design To Increase Its Value

Beauty Isn’t Everything: 5 Aesthetics You Should Eliminate From Your eLearning Course Design To Increase Its Value
Summary: Humans are visual creatures. Though substance matters, you need to please the eye in order to grab their attention. This article features 5 aesthetics you should eliminate from your eLearning course design to increase its value.

How To Increase The Value Of Your eLearning Course Design

For those of us that consistently spend time online, visuals matter. Cartoons used to be for little kids, so they were filled with simple shapes and bright colors. As we age, our tastes may evolve into more elaborate visuals. However, the same rule applies, we rely heavily on aesthetics to create an emotional connection and form meaning. Compelling images, animated sequences, and simulated gaming are key elements of eLearning courses. How do we maintain the balance between playful, entertaining elements and effective educational activities? Here are 5 aesthetics to omit from your eLearning course design to enhance its value.

1. Artistic But Unclear Buttons In Your Course Design

One of the first things to consider when re-evaluating eLearning aesthetics is buttons and dials. Pretty buttons attract attention, so they’re the first things employees will zone into. That said, there are three aspects to consider. Using a heat map and training data, you can find out where learners focus the most. Use colorful buttons to move their eyes to another part of the screen. Two, you can out important buttons on the parts of the page that employees are already angling towards.

Three, you can make the buttons themselves clear and easy to use. Because if they’re bright and pretty but it’s not clear what exactly the buttons do, they waste learners’ time. They can also break the employee’s concentration as they try to figure out what the button does. Worse, they may feel discouraged by their confusion, doubt their learning ability, and develop a negative attitude towards their eLearning course design. This can lead to disinterest and drop-offs.

2. Beautiful But Irrelevant Images

We’ve all heard pictures are worth a thousand words, but we don’t always think about what exactly those words are. In the online training space, we also hear advice about minimizing text and replacing it with infographics and emotive visuals. That said, images pull the eye, so if they’re not directly linked to study materials, they can be distracting. Use images generously but make them functional. Every visual in your eLearning course's design must justify its existence. Cull them just as ruthlessly as you edit your words. Use the telegram principle. Decades ago, before email, mobile phones, or even text messaging, telegrams were used for urgent communication. They were charged per word, so people got really good at limiting their words while still maintaining comprehension. Apply this concise communication structure, both to your word count and image use. It will help learners pay attention because it condenses content while prioritizing comprehension.

3. Stimulating But Heavy Sequences

Aside from relevance, you also need to consider bandwidth. To keep your eLearning course design arresting, you probably want to use large, sharp, high-resolution images. Your audio and video clips should also be clear, so you’re likely to upload the highest available quality. The problem is… high definition audio and visuals with lots of pixels are heavy. They make your web pages and apps load more slowly, which could tire employees. They may navigate away or get distracted while they wait. And once their attention shifts, it can be hard to get them back. You can solve this using less detailed pictures. Fewer visual elements and sparse photo composition mean your image isn’t functionally affected when you lower the resolution. Also, an infographic summary contains more information than multiple independent pictures, so consider using more of those.

4. TMI Graphs And Charts

Typically, visual aids like graphs and charts are great for breaking complex ideas into more manageable bits of data. However, you can have too much of a good thing. For example, graphs that include so many stats and lines that learners don’t know where to begin. Or they’re unable to see the relationship between concepts. Keep things simple and break more complicated subject matter into different visual aids. You can also color-code certain elements or include a key to improve comprehension.

5. eLearning Course Design Graphics That Stir Up Too Much Controversy

At some point in our lives, most of us have encountered an image, commercial, or print ad that made us uncomfortable. It pushed the boundaries a bit too far and left us feeling awkward or taken aback. You want the aesthetics of the eLearning course design to create a stir for all the right reasons. Such as making learners challenge their assumptions. But you don’t want them feeling isolated or alienated by overly controversial graphics. Make sure that your graphics not only tie into the subject matter but align with learners’ needs and cultural backgrounds.

Insider Tip: UX And UI Congruence

Start by building a cohesive team of designers and developers. The mistake many eLearning course design creators make is having designers and coders work independently. The UX team builds something pretty without consulting the programmers, who then struggle to match functionality. They can’t always get things to work, because they aren’t in the designers’ headspace. Also, designers storyboard without asking what can and can’t be done at the back end. Have them work together from the start. That way, your designers won’t pick elements that your coders can’t back up. The designers should also be open to alternative suggestions, ones that work both visually and functionally.

Creating an eLearning course design is a balancing act. You want it to be pretty enough to hold learners’ attention. But you don’t want them so stimulated that they can’t focus on knowledge transfer. Get your developers and designers on the same page. If they can play nice, it makes life easier for everyone. Only use buttons with clear, obvious, functionality. Keep your images and animated sequences light and relevant. Every part of your course, words, pictures, or sounds, must all justify their bandwidth or face deletion.