Education is forever changed and will never return to pre-Covid-19 days. Educators are under pressure to develop engaging, motivational, and cross-functional learning experiences for face-to-face and virtual learning. Achieving teacher, social and cognitive presence to keep educators, learners and workers connected and engaged in an online environment can be challenging. Often learners cite that online learning can be tiresome, repetitive, and (let’s be honest) boring!
However, it’s possible to create stimulating eLearning courses that won’t require a visual designer’s help to make an impactful ed-tech course.
Join us to explore six instructional design tips that will enable you to create effective eLearning course pages without formal training in visual design or HTML/CSS coding skills.
Tip #1 Use Meaningful Imagery that relates to your learner’s
Humans are visual beings. We consider expressions, colours and symbols and make a personal conclusion regarding meaning. Adding images to your learning content can boost learner engagement and foster increased emotional impact. Adding the right image can support readers to retain information seven times more than usual.
To ensure you add meaningful imagery that hits the spot with your learners, we recommend:
A series of images instead of bullet points to present a list-type of content
Considering the use of photographs instead of clip art to make your course design more professional
The use of powerful images that evoke the right emotions, particularly positive ones that your learners can relate to
Tip #2 Say “Goodbye” to cluttered templates!
If you know the name ‘Marie Kondo’, you’ll understand the point we’re trying to make here.
Less is more.
Effective course design allows learners to concentrate on the content rather than the decorative elements. Excessive decoration can detract, overwhelm and disengage learners from learning outcomes. Removing design elements unrelated to your topic makes your course page as practical and straightforward as possible for your user to understand. Avoid distractions that could confuse learners’ thinking or divert them from the topic’s key elements.
Tip #3 ‘White space’ is your friend… not your foe
Designers have long emphasised the importance of white space in eLearning courses as they do in traditional instructional layouts. Negative space is complete in its own right; it does not always need to be filled with objects and clutter. Imagine having a room full of so many things; it would be not easy to find specific objects! Providing white space to learners allows them to identify what is essential and what is not. It facilitates better comprehension and presentation of ideas and encourages effective learning.
Tip #4 Separate content into bite-sized pieces
It is more beneficial for learners if learning content is separated across several slides if you need to present a lot of information. When too many details are added to one slide, it can be overwhelming and challenging for learners to derive meaningful context from the learning materials. Distilling information into bite-sized pieces improves course design and boosts comprehension and readability.
Tip #5 Choose your colours wisely
Colour is crucial to visual design; it has the power to evoke appropriate reactions from your users. Moreover, consideration of colour is essential to maximise the accessibility of your learning content for all of your learner’s needs. For learners that suffer from colour blindness and eyesight impairments, the choice of colour applied to online course content can be critical to learner success.
When designing your course, it’s best to use soft and subdued backgrounds and darker colours for the text. It is never a good idea to add too many colours to a course; three are usually more than enough to retain simplicity while making the course appealing to learners. Resources on the web can help you create the right colour palette for your course.
We recommend the online tool Coolors, which can help you pick a colour scheme for your learning course. This tool considers conditions such as colour blindness and levels of eyesight.
Tip #6 Consistency is key
It is common for people who don’t have enough design experience to create courses with colour or pattern themes that don’t match one another. Varying design elements across a course make it difficult for learners to adjust to theme changes every few slides, and they lose focus. In this case, consistency is crucial for learners to remain engaged; stick to a single colour palette and guide learners through learning content using focal points throughout the course content to enhance consistency and improve course navigation.
Course designers should also consider other design elements, such as fonts, backgrounds, and language.
To motivate learners to complete the course, the entire look and feel of the course must be captivating and exciting.
Learn how Loree can help you design engaging and interactive learning experiences with zero code experience required. Take your eLearning courses to new heights, today!
It’s 2022 and digital learning is reaching new heights. In a post-pandemic education landscape, there is immense pressure on educators to create engaging and effective online course content. The ever-changing teaching environment strains educators, and for many, switching between online and in-person course delivery modes is unsustainable. Educators need the support of practical and efficient technology tools to assist with the design and delivery of course content.
Organizations should be asking, how can we efficiently support our educators with proper tools to create engaging online learning content? Keep reading as we share our industry expertise on five tips for online course design.
While reading our latest tips, have a think about these questions and how your learning experience can be enhanced to further engage your classroom:
Do your learning goals align with your learning outcomes?
How will you help your learners achieve these learning goals?
What materials and methods will be used to enhance the learning experience?
What tools and technology can best help you to help your learners?
How will you identify when these goals have been met?
Create your Course Goals and Objectives
As educators, you’re more than familiar with developing course goals and objectives for every syllabus created. Let’s go one step further and set goals for specific learning modules. Educating in a hybrid learning environment can lead to outdated and mismatched learning materials. Setting micro-goals for learning modules supports a streamlined review process with clear criteria.
Engage Learners with a range of Media Options
Learning Management Systems (LMS) have their course editing functionality. However, the resulting page design typically features a basic page layout with simple text and image elements. Often educators require HTML and CSS code skills to create responsive web-like course pages, particularly if they are looking to introduce rich interactive experiences for their learners.
To overcome these challenges, teachers can leverage course design tools like Loree that plug into the LMS, giving you access to introduce pre-recorded videos, audio clips, graphics, and interactive (like image sliders, accordions, additional tabs, and more).
Prioritise the right Learning Tasks
“What will your students do during their online course?”
It’s always important to take yourself on the journey your learners will take. Several ways to enhance your instructional tasks in online courses, include:
Connecting: Activate your learners past knowledge and experiences of the content so they can build better connections to future course work.
Learn/Watch/Read: Update content to inspire your new learners.
Practice makes perfect: Reinforce learning abilities by implementing new activities
Share and Discuss: Empower learners to share personal experiences related to your content. Discussion threads and messaging tools within (or out) of your LMS are a great way to introduce social and peer-based learning to your course.
Assess: Learners can demonstrate their knowledge through a range of methods, including quizzes, tests, and assignments. Digital learning tools like Xen.Ed support multiple assessment options with the ability to track, monitor, and report learner results.
Reflect and Repeat: Test your learners on what they have learned by repeating and teaching the educator.
Humanise the Technology You Use
Critical student feedback during the pandemic was that not all learning experiences were the same during COVID-19. The lack of teacher and peer engagement was a significant challenge for learners. Now that education is returning to face-to-face and blended models, humanizing the virtual learning experience is essential. Therefore, understanding how to introduce human elements is pivotal. Here are some ideas on how to humanize your courses:
Simplify your navigation and user journey: Most LMS’ are lack the ability to customize course navigation. When developing online course content, reflect on how your students navigate the face-to-face course experience and how it can be adapted for the online learning environment? It’s essential to view experiences from the lens of the learner and remove distractions or unnecessary material. These distractions can overwhelm learners and dilute core learning objectives.
Make the learning experience appealing: Interaction plays a pivotal role in the efficacy and effectiveness of digital learning. Learner-content interaction contributes predominately towards the successful realization of the expected learning outcomes.
Course content design directly impacts learner engagement if it is text-heavy. Your learners are immersing themselves in an educational experience, adding imagery, short videos, pop quizzes, interactive elements, and engaging page design captures attention and elevates the course look & feel.
Accessibility is mandatory: The Universal Design for Learning (UDL) philosophy facilitates the idea of purposefully constructed learning experiences. These experiences need to be flexible and barrier-free. Consider using Interactives to showcase learning material in a variety of ways. Tools like Loree can create elements like image sliders, flip cards, accordions, and hotspots, all requiring zero code experience to design.
Enhance the way you assess your learners
Assessing online learners using a range of mediums is critical to identify whether they genuinely understand learning outcomes. Gone are the days of essay-only assessing, with educators using discussion posts, group work projects, quizzes, exams, verbal and audial assessments, and digital projects (among many others).
Provide your learners with various options and formats to undertake their assessment. This provides an element of exploration and challenges learners to test their knowledge across multiple formats.
Keep posted as we continue to discuss additional tips and tricks for engaging course design! Alternatively, if you would like to explore solutions to assist your institution in enhancing your learning experience, please book an EdTech exploration session with one of our education specialists.