“Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” – Steve Jobs
Do you agree?
Designing has a lot to do with how well one understands people. The art and science of designing has recognized behavior patterns of people including their habits and actions in their everyday life. Design is as good as the level of understanding designers have about their people. Designing eLearning or online training courses is a lot about paying attention to detail, keeping in mind the psychological behavior of the learners. Use of effective images, videos, and content have an important role to play in measuring the overall efficiency of learning programs.
Understanding the reasons behind what people do, gives designers the insight they need to ensure the right information is shared with them, and the right message is conveyed through the eLearning content.
Good design forms the foundation of your eLearning courses to create effective learning solutions for your learners. It is important to understand the tendencies of the people interacting with your training courses so you adequately address their needs.
Susan Weinschenk’s book, 100 Things every designer needs to know about people has brilliantly communicated the importance of having a clear understanding of people while you work on eLearning designs. The book subtly helps you tap into the psychology of your learners to change the outcome of your training courses through thoughtful design. Out of these 100, we bring to you the 8 most important things that will help you understand why learners behave in a certain way, and how you can increase the effectiveness of your eLearning courses.
#1 – Familiar faces help.
People respond to familiar faces or people who look like someone they know or think they know. In short, people like people. Use of images, graphics, texts and messages from leaders, or graphics/animations related to your learners’ profile can enhance engagement and make the training more effective.
#2 Stories are compelling.
Presenting data in large chunks of information leads to information overload. Supporting your eLearning with a story will help illustrate your content to convey the message more effectively. Sometimes data can be misinterpreted which is least desired by any organization. Stories help in presenting information in a clear manner, ensuring emotional involvement of your learners, and a more active participation as well. This gives them an effective learning experience.
#3 Use information or lose information.
Our brains cut short information that is not required or of no use, in order to make room for new and more relevant information. Good eLearning design thus provides learners the chance to use new information so that it is stored and retained for longer. This involves repeating the information, allowing application of the information, and relating new information to existing knowledge. Understanding of the existing level of knowledge of your people helps in creating information that is relevant and useful for them.
#4 First impression matters.
People make judgments about everything they see based on how it looks and feels. Hence, creating an impeccable first impression is crucial to get your learners attention and gain their trust. A lot of attention needs to be given to the presentation of information and overall look and feel of your design. Even though it is important to ensure the design works best, it is also important to present it in the best possible manner for the design to work i.e. conveying the right message and making it last for long. The use of right fonts, images, layout, and navigation is critical here as these need to draw the learners in and not deviate them from the training.
#5 Order and organize information.
You may have designed numerous courses but weren’t happy with the results. Why do you think that is? Perhaps the data wasn’t organized in the right order to make its way to the learner’s brain. Organizing and managing your content in the right order can help your learners extract the right message from the course and make it less likely for them to form their own perceptions that may not be right.
#6 Keep the fun quotient alive.
Fun, excitement, and surprises are a great way to grab your audience’s attention and keep them engaged in the course. Adding fun and engaging elements such as weaving a story using the story-arc model, interspersing interactivities and questions with a gamified touch, creating a dynamic, vibrant, and enthusiastic narration with a little humor, using interactive discussion boards for enabling incredible social learning experiences, etc. are great ways to grab the attention of your learners. These help learners develop different perspectives to a situation and interact with the world. Incorporating new ways of looking at information that learners may have come across repeatedly, pleasantly surprises them and broadens their outlook, thereby making it easy for them to remember that information. However, a balance of consistency and surprise is required for the design to be relatable, yet unique in some way.
#7 Retention of maximum information.
It is difficult to retain a lot of information. Hence, it is important to prevent learners from filtering information from the training you have designed. For this, you must make the learning targets prominent and impossible to ignore. A few things like increasing the font size, changing colors or including a bit of animation can grab the attention of learners to the decided learning targets. eLearning design also gives importance to using tiny details such as using bullet points to breakdown information into digestible pieces.
#8 Progress is always encouraging.
The feeling of achieving something has a great impact on one’s approach. Who doesn’t want to succeed in anything they attempt to learn? We all love to see ourselves growing and improving. Hence, progress reports that update learners on a regular basis about their achievements and goals, are of great importance. Providing learners this information will encourage them to continue and complete the course they have taken up.
All these aspects form an integral part of eLearning design. Meaningful, engaging, and successful eLearning experiences are created with a thorough understanding of these 8 principles.
If you want to know how we can help you make your eLearning design more engaging and meaningful, get in touch with us today! For any other information about our eLearning services and solutions, connect with us here or follow us on Facebook , LinkedIn and Twitter.