/  2d animation   /  eLearning Visual Essentials

Let’s talk eLearning. It’s a growing industry with a number of different approaches to Learning Management System (LMS) development and media design. I’ve been working in the industry consistently for two years now, and I’ve noticed some rules and guidelines that make content better, and more affective to a learner. Here are some of the rules I’ve noticed that seem to consistently work to keep a learner’s attention, and make your courses look great at the same time.

Visual Essential 1 – Create a Clean, Clear Visual Style

Having a crisp, clear, inviting look to your courses, whether they involve film, animation, interactive, or something of a combination is the number one rule. People feel like they trust your brand when it looks like it’s thought out, well put together and not distracting to the viewer. This includes:

  • Carefully considering your typefaces (fonts) you use for your courses
  • Picking colors that work well together and putting them into a style guide as a visual hierarchy, saying what goes where in a clear way, and give examples for your media designer. Be specific. Add more colors, or take away some if it’s relevant to your course and needs.

Visual Essential 2 – Create Templates for any Animation You’ll Use Over and Over Again

This is another big one. Many eLearning courses use animation as an essential teaching tool. This is typically because animation is great at showing abstract or hard to understand ideas in a simpler way.

If you’re creating a long course, make sure you figure out the visual style for certain animations you’ll be using over and over again. This can include:

  • Intros / Outros
  • Title sequences
  • Lists
  • Callouts
  • Highlights for content
  • Fills for content
  • Background animations

Visual Essential 3 – Please, PLEASE Keep Your Title Sequences Short and Unobtrusive

This involves audio as well and visuals, but it’s something I see consistently with courses that I find incredibly irritating.

If you’re writing out a course, make sure your title sequences for that course are short, and if you can swing it, do not even have an audio signature unless that is under two seconds. I’ve had to endure learning web design through online courses that were so annoying at the beginning it quickly tired me out and made me not want to watch any further.

After you hear the same title signature and same long intro over and over again, you don’t want to keep going on your course, believe me.

People, including myself, do not enjoy watching intros one million times for a course as we’re going through it. It doesn’t do anything to endear your learners to you if you also make that intro long and irritating to look at, it makes in flat out annoying to get to the relevant content at all.

Here are a few rules I follow that seem to work for affective openings to courses and that keep learners engaged:

  • Keep your audio signature if you must use one under 2 seconds
  • Play your audio signature 30 times in a row, if it is starting to annoy you, change it, then do this again until you’re not annoyed, or less annoyed and feel you can stand listening to it this even more
  • Make animations for your opening signature, and titles under 4 or 5 seconds max, unless their is a really really good reason to make them longer
  •  Make your openings as visually simple and as easy to watch as possible
  • If you can, use NO audio signature at all, your learners will thank you

Visual Essential 4 – If You Can, Test Your First Few Videos Out on Someone Not Involved With The Project

This is a good rule of thumb for spotting any further visual problems with a course. If you’re able to, it’s best to get a number of eyeballs on it once you’ve started creating your first sections. People not involved may be able to spot visual issues that don’t work for them, or that they find irritating to look at in general.

This will help you make any changes you need in a timely manner in order to redo your templates or any other style issues early before you have to create the rest of your content. This saves you both time and money reworking problems in the future.

And that’s it!

These are my four quick rules for better visual eLearning content.

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