The visual appearance of your e-learning course definitely influences how (or whether) your learners engage with it. And since your background image is often the largest image or asset in your course, it's important to choose one that drives home your content. Here are a few ideas to help you select a background that will speak to your learners:

Themed Backgrounds

Selecting a theme is a good starting point. This could be as simple as a desktop or office theme, a corkboard or chalkboard theme, or something electronic, like a tablet-, telephone-, or computer-themed background. Themed images are fun and versatile, and can guide the design for the rest of your course.


Realistic Backgrounds

Photos as backgrounds can establish a context for your course, especially if you’re using photographic or illustrated characters to display a scenario or real-life situation. The key is to think about what the setting is for the characters or for the information you're presenting. Images that are bright and crisp (versus pixelated or degraded in quality) will go a long way toward making your course look polished and professional.


Faded or Abstract Images

Another option for background imagery is to go with something abstract, or a blurred or gradient-style image. These work especially well if you’re on a tight budget because they’re easy to create yourself using simple shapes and gradients.


Whichever type of background you choose, consider adding an effect if it’s too distracting or bold. A transparency or a blur can lighten it and help your content and text really stand out. It's an e-learning best practice to make it easy for your learners to grasp what's on the screen.

Here are some links to great background-related downloads and forum discussions:

These simple ideas will help you save time when you select your next course background image. Do you have any tips of your own to share about selecting backgrounds? If so, please leave a comment below!

You can always sign up for a fully functional, free 30-day trial of Articulate software. And don’t forget to post your questions and comments in the forums! We’re here to help. For more e-learning tips, examples, and downloads, follow us on Twitter.