In my previous blog I discussed how it is The End of eLearning As We Know It. Today, I'm going to discuss the rebirth of eLearning in 2015.
Driven by the necessity of technology and standards driven approach, eLearning is actually a bit behind, especially when compared to website design. A ‘Simple, Bold, Clear’ approach to the overall design and delivery of content is crucial and I think this will mean that eLearning is in a state of ‘becoming’. We can see some of this already with the TIN CAN API which for me signals the eventual demise of SCORM in favour of a more friendly, modern and more dynamic eLearning experience for both the learner and the developer.
When you look at website design you can see that the best examples of modern website design tend to share a standardised look based on grids that makes them visually simpler, with bold use of structure, and more clarity in what elements of the page are about. You can pull your web browser’s window to different widths and the design will change and content will adapt to your needs – you can see that elements on the page move to a new location or scale to something more suitable at the new window size.
This ‘simple, bold, clear’ approach is also feeding back into print design with bigger clearer font sizes, delineated structure and a refined visual language that guides you through the content on the page. Ironically, these concepts are not new and we have all seen them before, for years newspapers and broadsheets have implemented columns and sections to clearly define and prioritise the articles within them.
Now though, these elements of good design and shared philosophies are coming to the fore not just for the developer of websites or the publishers of papers and magazines but for the creators of eLearning.
You could argue that this adherence to the ‘grid-like’ might make your eLearning look all the same, however if you look at design movements that share a common philosophy you will quickly see that you can create a lot of beauty with a concept of simple, bold and clear.
Possible sources of inspiration, reference and study might include well known movements and archetypes such as those found in Swiss Design, Mondrian’s grid based paintings, Bauhaus, Arts and Crafts, Modernism, Art Deco, Organic Design, Minimalism and Pop Art.
But can eLearning be art-like in its sensitivity to design and training? I hope so, or at least take some notes on how it might benefit, from examining the philosophies behind the work which came out of these movements and how it might align with the requirements of modern eLearning.
For some eLearning teams this might mean additional specialised roles, greater teamwork and clear and concise co-ordination to bring all the creative and technical roles together to make something special for the learner – it might also require the dumping of old or inappropriate philosophies that are no longer relevant.
In general I think there is a need to be more ingenious with designs and to be open to a wider range of visual apparatus like bolder complimentary colour schemes with good contrast, a library of textures, a range of web fonts, bespoke illustrations and imagery in order to bring it all alive.
The current direction of technology pushes eLearning teams to really think about how eLearning content is now being made. And we mustn’t forget that we need to educate our clients – being clear to them and helping them understand what would work best for their learners and what this means for their learning programmes.
My final thoughts are that a standards driven approach is a positive move forward for eLearning. It can lead to some really great learning programmes and even greater experiences for the end user.
If you want to know more about our eLearning capabilities and how we can help develop the perfect learning solution for your organisation, contact us now.
Martin Blazey, Senior eLearning Developer, Bray Leino Learning
In my blogs I will be talking about what to look out for in eLearning, what good eLearning might look like now and in the future, and what some of the most interesting ideas might mean for eLearning as well as a fixation on game-like technologies and how they might be good for eLearning.
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