6 Custom elearning Design Essentials

Designing Digitally


6 Custom elearning Design Essentials

Successful e learning courses do not simply “share information”.  Instead, they should enable employees to apply the knowledge learned in their workplace or real-life situations. A custom design helps transform a series of slides with information into an effective way for learners to assimilate and retain pertinent information.

Here are six tips on how to design custom elearning that keeps learners engaged.

Tip 1: Keep elearning training short and simple.

Learners cannot be expected to endure a five-hour training course in one sitting. Therefore, designers must find a way to deliver the material in manageable pieces. One option is to divide the material into smaller modules that are tracked individually in the LMS. Another method is to set up multiple lessons inside one module. Include a menu or table of contents so the learner can navigate throughout the module. A third option is to develop a website that breaks the mold of slide-by-slide e learning. Learners have free access to explore the site, uncovering bits of material in any order at their own pace.

Tip 2: Favor a custom design based on ‘scan path’.

Scan path refers to the way our eyes ingest information on a printed piece of paper or computer screen. Our natural path is to start in the top left corner, move across to the right side, then travel to the bottom left corner, making a “Z” pattern. Designers may arrange text and images on screen with this pattern in mind.

Also keep in mind that long blocks of text often overwhelm learners. Use headlines to break up text into short paragraphs or bulleted lists. Then, sequence the sections of text along the scan path.

Tip 3: Maintain a consistent style with a custom design.

Establish a design style or theme for the entire course. This consistency will not only make the course look polished, but will also instill a comfortable pattern in the learning experience. Adhere to the following guidelines to ensure consistent design:

  • Place recurring elements, like buttons and headers, in the same place on each slide or page.
  • Find or create graphics in the same style. For instance, use black and white photos throughout the course, or vector illustrations from the same color pallet.
  • Determine the font, point size, and color for each type of text. All headlines should be formatted the same way, as should all body text, captions, bullet lists, etc.



Tip 4: Structure is crucial.

The designer’s first step should be to identify the learning objectives. Then, outline the structure of the elearning course or module, abiding by Tip 1: Keep it short and simple. Divide the content logically according to the topics, learning objectives, or the sequence of a process. A poorly organized elearning course will result in a confusing and frustrating learning experience.

Write the storyboards, which serve as the script for each slide or screen, after the overall structure is in place.

Tip 5: Design for real life scenarios.

Rather than concluding each lesson or module with a multiple choice quiz, create a scenario that places the learner in a realistic situation. This allows learners to practice applying their skills and knowledge, which is a much deeper level of understanding than simply regurgitating the information. Learners will be equipped to confidently tackle similar problems in real life because of their experience in the elearning scenario.

Tip 6: Interaction is necessary.

Include interactive elements throughout the course to keep learners involved in the experience. Let the learner click on images to reveal details about a topic, or drag and drop items to learn how to categorize them. Even simple knowledge check questions force the learner to take action in the learning experience. Find creative ways to make an interactive elearning experience, not an online lecture. 

Designing Digitally, Inc., offers a custom elearning design solutions to all sectors. Contact us to implement these design essentials, and more, into your training!