Selecting the Right Images and Graphics for Your eLearning Courses

Designing Digitally


Selecting the Right Images and Graphics for Your eLearning Courses

As visual creatures, we rely heavily on imagery. Everything we see represents a symbol that translates into concepts in our brains. The mind is great at picking up on details, even if we are not consciously aware of it. For this reason, selecting images for eLearning courses can be a big deal.

It's important that the graphics we choose for employee training focus on what we want to punctuate, without taking the learner's attention away from the actual content they need to learn. To do this we need to first have a broad understanding of what types of images exist, what elements match well with our course content, and where to position them for emphasizing key concepts.

What Are Graphics for eLearning

Unlike detailed illustrations and marketing graphics, eLearning graphics tend to be simpler with one main focus. This doesn't mean that the visuals you choose should not be pleasing to the eye. On the contrary, an effective eLearning image needs to reconcile beauty and functionality intelligently and clearly.

The overarching theme for eLearning graphics is education. Their functionality serves to educate the learner and help solidify the concepts they've been learning about. Elements like size, positioning, colors, and composition are definitely important. Answering 'why' a particular image is needed at some point in the course is imperative.

You'll need to think about the relevance of the image in conjunction with the content and whether it does a good job attracting the learner's attention. You'll also need to consider whether the image is engaging and unique. Does it transmit the message you are aiming to convey? Applying this line of questioning to each image might seem like a waste of time, but it will actually save you time and even money in the long run. The wrong image can discourage learners from completing or engaging with the course, and having to modify course content during or after course development can put a dent in your budget.

Read also: Attention-Grabbing Elements of eLearning Design.

Types of eLearning Images

Choosing graphics for employer training programs has never been easier. There are millions of resources online that make it easier for instructional designers to build great-looking training courses. You can choose between a combination of photos, graphs, screenshots, and illustrations. 

Stock illustration and photo websites are a great place to find visuals that complement your training material. Graphs usually include infographics, charts, and diagrams. Peppering your course with graphs is always a good idea because you can include a lot of information and quickly make your point. Screenshots are useful when explaining how to use specific software or for showing examples and social proof of concepts included in your course content. If you’re a proficient designer, you might choose to make your visuals from scratch.

Tips for Selecting Images and Graphics in eLearning

In essence, the process you should go through when choosing images and graphics for your employee training programs looks something like this:

1. Ask Questions First

Remember to ask yourself about the relevance, uniqueness, engagement factor, and message you need your images to transmit. Doing this bit of planning will help you in the selection process because you'll have a better idea about what you're looking for.

2. Tie in Point and Purpose

Make sure your images emphasize the importance of key concepts you want employees to learn. The right image has the power of increasing employee knowledge retention and recollection.

3. Search for the Right Images

Next, you'll want to go on the hunt. We'll list a few great resources, but don't be afraid to see what else is out there.

4. Edit Images

If you have the know-how, you can crop, recolor, or modify the images you source.

5. Add Images in their Proper Place

Play around with positioning, point of insertion, and add other elements- like similar color background, to help your image blend in with the course's theme.

6. Give Due Credit

Most often, you'll need to credit the photo or illustration to its source. This is easy to do. You can hyperlink the artist's website or source into the image itself, or you can type out a credit below each visual.

Resource List

Here are a few websites that are great for sourcing eLearning graphics:


Regardless of what type of images you choose, remember, the process is more important than the images themselves (to a point). You'll want to do your homework and read up on what others recommend. You can also hire professionals who specialize in cultivating images as a part of their eLearning course creation process. This will free you up to work on your content and not worry about the different elements that go into an employee training course.

Please email our team today to get started!