graphic design for e-learning

Nov 19, 2015

Hi Everyone,

      I have a question about graphic design as it relates to e-learning.   I am one of those folks who "fell" into Learning and Development, and I have never taken any kind of formal graphic design classes.   Not surprisingly, the look and feel of our presentations is very important to our company.   I haven't produced bad presentations in the past, but also didn't venture outside of the marketing templates in the past.  Now that I am trying to move the company's training forward by applying e-learning best practices, I am realizing that I could benefit from learning some about graphic design, as it relates to the look and feel of a presentation, especially with PowerPoint -- most of our presentations are currently in PowerPoint or get converted to articulate presenter or storyline.   I do not want a less than perfect presentation to take away from my credibility and otherwise good e-learning suggestions.

Is there anything that anyone can suggest to me as resources for some basics for graphic design?  Maybe a book or youtube video(s)?    If you can suggest search terms/things I should google, that will also help me out.  

  Thank you!

4 Replies
David Tait

I'd recommend looking at things that aren't related to e-learning too. For example, really well designed magazines are a great source of inspiration for screen layouts. A quick Google search pulled up this list of books too.

Everyone has their own style that they apply to their work and what satisfies your tastes might not satisfy the next person. The main thing to remember is that content is king, once you've nailed that side of things you can play with typography, colours, layout to see if you can enhance the content at all.

The most helpful tip I think I can give would be to keep your design elements consistent across all screens in your course. E.g. choose a colour pallette and stick to it. Set a font size/style/colour for titles and stick to it, set a font size/style/colour for body copy and stick to it. Consider laying out your screens using a grid system, give all images the same treatment throughout, e.g. full colour with rounded corners or black and white with a drop shadow.

Obviously as you develop more and more screens you'll realise that you need an element or two that you haven't thought of yet, that's fine, add them and then use them rigidly where needed going forward.

A lot of people who aren't graphic designers can find that this structure seems stifling but I honestly think that it can help to tighten up the look and feel of a course and help make everything look more professional.

Brian Duvall

For a quick, e-learning focused read on the topic, you can check out Articulate's eBook on Visual Design:  I've always thought David Anderson's process for creating the 'visual voice' of an e-learning course had some good graphic design principles embedded in it.  The context is making over an existing course, but the process and principles can be used for brand new stuff too:

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