This is a syndicated post, which originally appeared at The Rapid eLearning Blog by Tom Kuhlmann
There are three core questions that help guide the development of an elearning course. I discussed this a bit in the post on building a roadmap for elearning.
- What is the look and feel of the course?
- What information needs to be in the course?
- What will the learner do with the information?
For many rapid elearning developers the most challenging part is the first question because it requires a skill set different than training or instructional design. So what typically happens is that we create elearning courses that either all look the same or have a discordant look where the images and typography are a hodgepodge of whatever we have available.
In today’s post I’ll share a simple way to get a nice look for your course that will give it a rich feel. It’s not a substitute for good instructional design, but it is a simple way to make your course look good and take the pressure off of the rapid elearning developer who has limited access to graphic designers.
In a recent post I shared some ideas on how to craft more engaging objectives. For the demo, I wanted my earthquake intro to feature a family huddled in the dark. And as the information was shared a family member would disappear.
Like most of you, I am pressed for time. Since I had no time to build the graphics I wanted, I decided to change the huddled family image to a framed photo of a family. This would be a lot easier to do since all I needed was an image of a picture frame and a family.
As I was looking for picture frames on iStockphoto I saw a few Polaroid-like images. So I decided to switch from a single picture frame to Polaroid photos of each family member. Doing a search for “Polaroid” revealed a lot of cool layouts. What I like about them is that they offer some structure that I could easily use in my elearning course.
Searching through the Polaroid images lead me to an artist who had a series of images that I could use. The artist provided a background, title and section screens, and then various layout options. The added bonus is that since they came from the same artist they all looked like they belonged together.
Here’s a quick demo of these images used in an elearning course. As you can see, I didn’t have to do much work because I used the default layouts for my slide backgrounds.
Click here to view the demo.
I look for images that come from the same style so I can get a consistent look and avoid a discordant style. And then I look for “buckets” where I can add content. In this case the Polaroid images are perfect. I can use them to add pictures, as menu choices, or even as a way to display text that may have previously been a bullet point.
The secret is to find an artist who provides a lot of images that come from the same style. This way you have a lot to work with. Here are a few sets that I think would work well in an elearning course:
Desktop themes (same artist):
This isn’t a replacement for good instructional design. You’ll still need to do that. But for the elearning developer who has no graphic design background and wants to create a visually appealing course, it’s an easy and simple solution.
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