If Design is a Language, What is Your eLearning Saying About You?
When Moses came down from the Mount. He didn’t have a flimsy papyrus scroll slipped under his arm, with the Ten commandments scribbled on them. No, he had two state-of-the-art stone tablets firmly held in each arm. Each of the commandments meticulously carved, each letter expertly chiseled: It was obvious, it took, time, care and deep thought to create them. When the Isrealites saw them, they knew immediately that this was an important message. Why else would someone go to all the trouble to showcase them in such a manner if they weren’t? Before uttering a single word, Moses had communicated the value and gravity of the lesson through design.
Creating compelling eLearning is very similar. Its all about choices, and not just the obvious ones like defining learning objectives or creating tests. It is much subtler than that, more nuanced. From the first second a learner opens your course they are evaluating its worth, and will in all likelihood assign a value that will directly correlate to the amount of attention they will pay to it. After all if you don’t care as the designer, why should they?
They will look at several factors to assess how serious you are:
- Does it load quickly and without issues?
- Is it professionally scripted and narrated or did someone just wing it with a laptop mic?
- Is there a cohesive custom colour design or did they use a stock PowerPoint template?
- Is it tightly scripted and logically organized or a rambling mess?
- Are the graphics (photos, info-graphics) relevant to the lesson, or just thrown in randomly?
- Is there mixed media (video, animations etc.,) or just stock photos?
- Does it respect their intellect in tone and delivery or treat them like children?
All this occurs in the first five slides and will determine your Learner’s overall attention and retention levels. Design is critical to engagement. The more thought design that goes into your training module, the more successful it will be.