Selecting Colors for Your Elearning Course and the Impact They Can Have on Your Learners

Designing Digitally


eLearning design tips

Colors are powerful communication tools. They can influence moods and psychological reactions.  Researchers discovered that performance improves by 5 to 10 percent on standardized pattern recognition tests if they are administered in color and not black and white. Colors are known to boost memories if they are realistic and not random. Another group of researchers discovered that when we look at known graphics, our brains replaces the colors even if they are missing. For example, if we see a picture of an apple in black and white, our brains will substitute the color red.

Here are some research findings that show a variety of ways in which colors influence people.

  • There is evidence that blue streetlights can reduce the crime rate of an area.
  • The color red coaxes people to react with greater force and speed.
  • Warm colored placebo pills are reported to be more effective than cool colored ones.
  • Cool colors in the blue pallet are calm and can evoke feelings of sadness.
  • The red spectrum evokes emotions ranging from energy to aggression.

Choosing the right color palette for your eLearning

When you understand how certain colors influence the learners’ brains, it can help you to create learning content that is more targeted and effective. The right color has the ability to improve focus and enhance the learners’ moods.

If you had a limited color palette, it would have been no big deal in choosing the appropriate colors for your course. But there are millions of colors in the spectrum, and the choices available are overwhelming. Make sure that your palette provides a positive experience to the learners that creates the relevant mood and does not fatigue their eyes.

Here are some tips to ensure that your course has the right colors that will keep your learners hooked.

#1: Align the colors with your brand guidelines.

The colors should be in sync with your organizational branding guidelines so it looks like an extension of your brand. This adds to the credibility of the learning. The branding colors of your company convey a certain message. Therefore, even if you have a limited choice of colors, it makes sense to stick to the guidelines. You may consider softening it though, if your guidelines allow it, as marketing colors tend to be harsh.

#2: Use colors based on the emotion they evoke.

Colors have the power to bring out certain emotions – both negative and positive. Decide the kind of emotion you wish to evoke in your audience and select the relevant color. For example, blue has a calming effect, while yellow encourages optimism. You also need to keep the culture and your target audience in mind as the colors may have a different connotation in different cultures. For instance, in China, green is considered to be the color of infidelity and in the Western world, it denotes abundance.

#3: Avoid color chaos.

Do not go wild with the color options. There are thousands of shades available, but you need not incorporate all of them. Limit your choices to four to five colors and avoid confusion. The more colors you use, the higher the chances of your audience to get distracted. You may want to use Plutchik’s Wheel to validate if your chosen colors blend or clash.

#4: Consider using a palette generator.

There are palette generators that help you create color palettes based on color harmonies. You may consider taking help from them. The generators are based on a color wheel framework. For example, an analogous palette offers color schemes based on adjacent colors like green and yellow. Complementary palettes pick up two opposite colors and create a scheme, like blue and orange.

#5: Choose suitable contrasts.

It is critical to choose colors with suitable contrasts, especially for accessibility purposes. However, that doesn’t mean that contrast is irrelevant for regular users. If the font blends into the background, it will be difficult for all learners to read. You can also emphasize important portions by highlighting them with different colors.

At Designing Digitally, Inc. we develop custom learning solutions that keep participants engaged and involved. We use the right blend of images and colors to ensure it has an impactful effect on your employees. Our experts conduct a thorough training needs analysis to identify the right solution for your audience.

To get started on your next custom training solution, book a free consultation with our team today.

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