As an experienced eLearning Developer, I have seen the best and worst examples of eLearning and I have been through the painstaking process of getting the design “right”.
Here are ten top eLearning design tips to consider when creating effective eLearning.
- Know your target audience
Most corporate companies do not like the use of cartoon characters and being in the educational sector does not necessarily mean your target audience is children.
- Brand Guidelines
Does your client have them? Probably the single most useful document a developer can have. This is the core of your design and your design should strictly adhere to it, despite potential resistance from the client! If your client doesn’t have them, their website is always a good starting point.
Are the objects in your eLearning aligned correctly against each other? Even being 1px out can be noticeable to someone with a keen eye. If your chosen tool has a snapping feature make good use of it as this will save so much time, failing that it’s back to using the failsafe co-ordinates!
Spacing dimensions are often contained in the Brand Guidelines, if not use common sense and most importantly be consistent!
- Optimise your images
As a general rule of thumb JPGs for images, PNGs for graphics. If you have Photoshop use the ‘Save for web’ option as this can drastically reduce file size which means a faster loading, more space- efficient course.
- Scaling images
Try to avoid scaling images, upscaling an image will result in fuzzy pixelated image and downscaling an image is just wasted space. For the best quality don’t scale at all and if you do need to make an image larger, find a higher res version to use instead.
No one wants to be overwhelmed by a page full of text on screen, learners will switch off and your eLearning course will look more like an eBook. Try to break the text up into readable chunks and present the text in a way that makes it engaging.
As a former Flash Developer, I have experienced and contributed first-hand to the era of excessive animations on the Internet. What used to look “WOW” and eye catching, usually looks tacky and excessive nowadays. The same applies to eLearning. Subtle, consistent transitions work best, otherwise you risk it looking like a PowerPoint from the last decade…
Don’t feel like you have to make everything interactive to engage a user as this quite often has the opposite effect. Use interactions where they will benefit the learning experience and don’t make it too gimmicky.
Everything else is irrelevant if the eLearning doesn’t work. I have lost count of the number of times I have produced something, tested it on all the major browsers and then tested it on a mobile device to find that it’s half working. Take time to test and make sure basic things like the tracking and completion status is working on the LMS.
I will be exploring each of these tips in further detail over the course of my next blogs.
Phil Eagles, Senior eLearning Developer, Bray Leino Learning
In my series of blogs I’ll talk about the components of eLearning design and development.
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