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eLearning Design

So you want to develop an eLearning course huh? But you are not a graphic designer, and need some tips on eLearning design to get you started? Here is the last post of my three-part series on eLearning design tips for the non-designer. Click here to start reading my first post on eLearning Design Tips for the Non-Designer (Part 1).

This post will cover eLearning tips for color and style.

5 eLearning Design Tips for Color and Style

The color and style of your eLearning course can communicate several things to the learner but, ultimately, gives the learner the look and feel of how you intend to communicate. Using good color and style is what makes your course go from “ew” to “wahoo” in seconds. So, pay attention to your color and style.

1. General Color Uses

Don’t do red on black, light yellow on white, or dark green with bright red. General rule, if it makes your eyes shake don’t do it. Colors should follow a checker pattern. Dark should go on light and light should go on dark. There are of course exceptions such as when it’s purely a graphic treatment that allows for it. But as a general rule, dark on light, or light on dark is the way to go. Light on dark usually works best.

2. Follow a Style Guide

If you are working for a client, use the style guide provided by your client. These colors reinforce their brand. Use these colors when in doubt of what the specific project colors are. At times, it may be impossible to get a style guide. On these occasions, it’s useful to look at their website, commercials, videos, and printed material. Take some notes on what you see, and create assets based on their other graphics. After that, you can develop a look and feel prototype and storyboard. When passing on the project to another developer, it would also be helpful to identify colors to be used.

3. Never Recreate Graphics (If You Don’t Have To)

If you are finding yourself creating and recreating the same assets again, such as buttons, call outs, and interface elements, then place the .psd or .ai files in a depository that you can grab from later. Avoid over designing more than needed. Too many times we decide to show our chops as a graphic designer or developer, and over complicate slides. Less is more in eLearning design.

4. Avoid Busy Design (Duh!)

Make sure you avoid a design that distracts the learner. Instead use graphics to reinforce the main idea. There are some bad design combinations to watch out for. Such as text over a busy image. It’s hard to read. Sometimes the use of that image is required. To avoid making something unreadable, don’t place text directly over busy images.Use a text box above the image, or think of another treatment.

5.  Add Animations Sparingly

Animation serves a purpose. It helps the learner by breaking up text or dialog. It can show cause and effect, and can show emphasis by controlling eye movement, highlighting, or revealing important content. Avoid getting too crazy with animations. Your transitions should make sense. Avoid too many objects animating or too many different transitions all happening at once.

What are some best eLearning practices you use? Please comment below.

Read the other blog posts in the series:

eLearning Design Tips for the Non-Designer (Part 1)
eLearning Design Tips for the Non-Designer (Part 2)

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