Deciding on a design...

May 12, 2014

Why is getting started and deciding on a course design always the hardest part? I'm working on a course about Negotiating and can't seem to agree on a specific design or template to use. Does anyone have any ideas or examples for me? Any feedback is appreciated!

6 Replies
Anna Oftedal

Hi Kaitlin,

Your question is very broad and leads me to a series of questions that would done during analysis (prior to design). You have probably already answered these questions, but without them, it would be hard to recommend a design.

These are just a few of the questions that come to my mind:

- Is this e-learning or blended learning?

- Does it need to be available on small mobile devices (that might influence size of objects/display)?

- Who is the intended audience?

- Does the subject or audience warrant a serious approach or a more casual approach?

- Will the learning need to be linear or branching? (depending on audience needs, whether they are required to complete all content, whether you want them to explore or if they need to consume content in order).

- What do you want the learner's experience to be like?

- Will they be expected to pass a quiz/knowledge check/assessment at the end?

- Will the content be conceptual/knowledge-based or would you be able to present the information in a realistic, scenario-based approach? 

- What actions do you expect the learner to be able to do after they complete the training?

- Will you have practices or activities based on the actions the learners will be expected to perform?

- Would it be more appropriate for the audience to use the animated Storyline characters or the photographic characters or no characters at all? Will there instead be photographic images or other graphic elements?

These are just a sampling of questions that I ask and that help to drive my design. For examples: if my audience is a serious business environment, I would know that a hip or comic approach would probably not be appropriate. If I want (or the client wants) the learners to be able to explore the learning at their own pace, then I may be able to present content in a branching e-learning rather than linear, etc.




Rachel Barnum

Kaitlin, is this for a company? I often use their colors & branding style. Perhaps their website would be a good start.

For colors, I like to use I also made a small post for inspiration about it a while ago that I do need to update, but it may help:

Eric Nalian

Hey Kaitlin,

To add to  what Anna said - in addition to all of those questions I also ask myself what I want the tone of the course to be like and choose my design around that.

  • How interactive is the course going to be?
  • What do you want the learner to think/feel as they are going through the course (based on the graphics chosen)
  • etc...

Hope that helps,


Judy Nollet

It sounds like the topic (Negotiating) could have character dialogs and such. The first thing that popped into my mind is Tom K's "comic book" design.

Use illustrated characters for a lighthearted approach, or photographic ones if you need to stay "serious."

Kaitlin Keppler

Thanks for the tips guys. Let me see if I can answer most of your questions.

First of all the course is going to be a RAPID designed e-learning course- it will not be available on mobile devices. The audience is state employees, so simplicity is key. But interaction will be moderately used.

The information is process based, so branching will be utilized. The course will be majority concept based, with some application via scenarios. We want to the learner to be able to effectively negotiate a conversation or dialog using the 4 guidelines presented. An assessment will be required to pass to receive credit for the course.

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