How many different slide layouts is really too much?

Jul 25, 2011


My elearning module will have aprox 15-20 slides. Each slide has a different background. Is that too much? Or should I stay with the same background for each slide? I want to stay away from an ordinary ppt as much as possible.



6 Replies
Kayla Burtch

Do they have completely different backgrounds, or are they slightly different. Is there an over-all cohesion with the different backgrounds, or is it seemingly-random. Is there a reason to have these different backgrounds or will it be distracting to the learner?

I think in a course it is important that everything is done for a reason. Not "oh look a pretty unicorn" when the course is about office-management.

That said, if you are doing a scenario and you are moving around the office through-out your scene, it makes perfect sense that the background changes.

Julie Frappier

Hi Kayla,

Yes, they do have different backgrounds.

I'm not too sure on how to go about it. How many different backgrounds is okay.

All the images have their purpose.

For example, my introduction slide has a black and blue gradient background. The learning objective slide happens to be the notepad template.  Some slides have a white background with text and images on them.

Maybe I should look to see if there's a slide that stands out too much?

Stefano Posti


I think you should keep in mind that learners must perceive a "style" in the course they're taking; it helps with concentration, and they "stay" in the course, not hanging around some information given through the web.

I do recommend the use of meaningful images; but please keep in mind to hold a linear style; images could fill only a part of the slide, for example, leaving a header to provide a clear title, or payoff; you could use transparent rectangles over the images with text, using the same font style(remember, using the same font, with max 2-3 styles (bold, thin, regular, ec.) is another must!)... feel free to communicate through images, but don't lose the point of your educational purposes.

You may find tons of excellent suggestions on the Rapid eLearning Blog by Tom Kuhlmann... you're in the right place!

Kristen Hull

This doesn't really answer your question, but I suggest reading "The Non-Designer's Design Book" by Robin Williams.  It's a great book for someone like me who struggles with the overall look of the project.  One of her principles is "Repeat some aspect of the design throughout the entire piece"...."repetition goes beyond just being naturally consistent-- it is a conscious effort to unify all parts of a design" (p. 51).  I think that if there isn't a common thread throughout your backgrounds, you might want to figure out a way to achieve it.

Robert Kennedy

That's a great book Kristen.  I use it all the time.  Julie, you definitely want to get some consistency across the module.  As Stefano said, that consistency helps them with concentration and flow.  Again, not just having images and backgrounds for the sake of taking up space is important.  That sentence was a little awkward, I know .  But, the bottom line is make sure that everything has purpose.

I dont want to say how MANY is ok.  I would go with whatever is most effective and meaningful.  If you want to post for some feedback, we would be happy to give that to you as well.  Feel free to PM me as well.


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