By: Karla Gutierrez

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April 9th, 2013

6 Creative Ways to Make Your eLearning Courses More Visual

eLearning design | eLearning

visual elearning

We all learn by looking. Researchers found that 75 percent of our learning is done through our vision. Indeed, our eyes are powerful lenses that enable us to observe and study our world. “The more visual the input becomes, the more likely it is to be recognized and recalled,” neuroscientist Dr. John Medina said. Other scientists agree that about 50-80 percent of our brain’s power is spent on processing our visual sense. That is why vision trumps all other senses in terms of memory and learning.

You can’t afford to miss this opportunity as an eLearning developer. Here are some ways to exploit visual technologies for the benefit of your students.

Make your eLearning courses more visual by incorporating these easy techniques:

1) Theme or Brand Your Course

Theme-based eLearning templates make courses stand out. You can customize themes and templates to match your style guide and brand. The premise is that every element, visual or non-visual, included in your course should help students recognize your organization and make a positive impression of your materials.

themes elearning

P.S. Don’t let your lack of graphic design skills limit your imagination. You can use templates and customize them to match your brand’s style guide and/or topic. SHIFT offers more than 250 professionally designed templates to help you build great looking courses in minutes.

2) Use Infographics and Images of Words and Numbers

Infographics pack a ton of content. They make data more meaningful and beautiful and, most importantly, they make learning more fun and less boring. With infographics, you can insert colorful bars, pies, charts and graphs to visually represent numbers and percentages. You can use it to group ideas together so that students are able to absorb information faster and retain them easier.

We know creating infographics is a lot of work. So, if you don't have enough information for an infographic, that doesn't mean you still can't present that data in a visual way. Sometimes a simple table does all the work. Simple data visualization, like the example below, can do wonders to improve an eLearning course.

visual elearning

Tip: Use these tools to create free and awesome infographics: Piktochart and Infogram.

3) Embed a Short Video

Pictures are nice but moving images are nicer. A lot of demos, tutorials and even landing pages make use of short videos to easily capture a viewer’s attention. Videos combine texts, images and sounds in order to create an immersive learning environment, or one that hooks your students while helping them learn more effectively.There are several circumstances that lend themselves to this type of visualization:

  1. Need to explain how to do something technical? Avoid a complicated text explanation, and instead consider creating a how-to video to describe it. 

  2. Want learners to hear from multiple perspectives? Include an interview. One of the most authentic ways to tell a learning story is to let the experts tell it themselves.

  3. Want to demonstrate how a product works? Make it more compelling with video!

eLearning video

4) Use High-Quality, Professional-Looking Photos and Images

A big chunk of your eLearning course is made up of text. Yet bombarding your students with long paragraphs is never a good idea. You can keep paragraphs at reasonable length and use images to break texts. Besides, free stock photos can help you explain your point, add emotional depth to your story or narrative and make ideas concrete. You can also make use of free illustrations to help students learn specific parts of something such as a machine or animal body parts.  A Creative Commons image will usually work. Free stock photos can help you explain your point, add emotional depth to your story or narrative and make ideas concrete. Also check out Stock.xchng and Stockvault and other select sites that offer free photos.

visual eLearning

Tip: Zoom in on your pictures. It’s a good way to draw attention to your course. Zoom helps visually represent what is right and the most important aspects of your content.

5) Use Visual Menus 

The usual menu is a text-only list or set of topics. While there is nothing wrong with this approach, you can improve your menus to benefit your students. There are many ways to build visual menus. For one, you can create a set of slides and hyperlink an image to link to each slide. This works great if your courses is based on a story or a narrative. Another is to use a timeline or flow chart to visually organize ideas based on dates or categories. Subjects such as history and science will largely benefits from these types of visual menus. Check out Cathy Moore's post for some creative ideas to design creative menus and navigation elements for your course. 

SHIFT's pre-built navigation menus, like the example below, are also a great option to improve the visual appeal of your eLearning courses. 

visual eLearning


6) Do Some Formatting 

Formatting only takes a few minutes, but it makes your content meeeeellllions of times easier to get through. Learners don't want to read a course that's full of dense text, and nothing else to break it up, right? No matter how high-quality the content of your course is, it doesn't really matter if no one is going to bother to read it, because it looks like a jumbled mess. Add some bullet points, some numbers, some bold headers, and some images to make your content look much more attractive. 


What other ways can you make your courses more visually stimulating?


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About Karla Gutierrez

Karla is an Inbound Marketer @Aura Interactiva, the developers of SHIFT.

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