Design is a key aspect of any learning experience. Even the best content may go underappreciated if it’s bland, tacky, or poorly laid out.
Though your course material should be your top priority, you shouldn’t forget about design elements – font and font size, colours, images, videos, page layout, and so on. These elements define the user experience, and therefore the information they learn and retain.
So, what does great e-learning content design look like? How is it different from ordinary or badly designed content? How can you go about enhancing the learning experience of your learners?
Clarify Your Goals
Not much needs to be said about being clear on your objectives and the structure of your course, but it is critically important.
Take some time to determine what you want your learners to take away from your course and build its structure around your key objectives.
Think about what course format you’re planning to use, as well as the technology needed to realize your vision.
Keep Navigation Simple
Make it easy for your users to find what they’re looking for.
Course creators sometimes think more is more, but when it comes to menus and navigation elements, it’s best to start with the bare minimum and only add additional items as necessary. Less is undeniably more, because it makes it easier for your learners to follow along and learn what they need to.
Don’t create pathways into modules or pages you don’t even want the end user to find.
Prioritize Visual Appeal
Beware of presenting the learner with endless walls of text. This type of information is hard to consume and difficult to retain.
Instead, use visual elements throughout your courses to guide the user along. Insert images and videos, and use other multimedia elements to keep the learning experience engaging.
Also think about the overall design of your course – fonts, colours, spacing, and so on.
Reinforce Key Points
Repetition is vitally important to help your students retain the knowledge they learn from your course.
Christoforos Pappas, Founder of The eLearning Industry’s Network says, “Including quizzes and tests at the conclusion of each module not only allow facilitators and creators to assess the effectiveness of the eLearning course, but also offer learners the opportunity to gauge their progress and summarize the content they have learned.”
Whether with summaries or quizzes and tests, find a way to reinforce the key points in your course, so your students remember them.
Learn From The Best
E-learning courses can take many forms. The key consideration is always what you’re trying to achieve, and what you want your users to walk away with.
And while it would be easy to talk endlessly about theory and best practices, one of the best ways to determine how to proceed with your course is to study and learn from the best e-learning resources available.
Look at an article like Best of 2015: 20 excellent elearning examples to inspire your next project, and study each example they give. You can learn a great deal from successful e-learning initiatives others have created for their employees, students, or learners. Use this as inspiration for your next course.
A great course:
- Is one that’s easy to digest.
- Communicates the key points succinctly and repeats them often to reinforce key information.
- Has a visually appealing design.
- Engages the user from beginning to end.
- Achieves its stated goal by keeping course material focused on the chosen topic.
- Is easy to navigate.
- Contains opportunities for additional learning, should the user want to take their knowledge to the next level.
- Includes interactive elements that make the learning experience fun.
These are but a few considerations to be aware of. Design is ultimately about communication. Getting your message across should be your primary goal, and your design elements should support that goal.