Online courses are never mere pieces of digital content. To meet the learning needs and tasks you set for them, online courses have to deliver a certain kind of experience, leave a memory, and, to put it simply, stick. This is what Learning Experience Design (LX design) deals with.
What is Learning Experience Design
Learning experience design emerged to show the shift in instructional design towards a more learner-centered approach. That shift entailed an increased focus on visual design principles, user experience, and accessibility in eLearning.
LX design has a lot in common with User Experience (UX) design, but let’s face it, users are not necessarily learners. In turn, learners are certainly users of the course player, an LMS, or a device that they use in order to study. And if the course is not very compelling, convenient, and well designed, as learners expect, this may hinder the learning progress and lead to poor results.
Here are a few LXD principles you can use to prevent this. For a thorough guide on LX design backed by theory, check out this article.
1. Keep it transparent and concise
Avoid causing cognitive overload with cluttered slides, colors that don’t match, and elements of the slide that don’t align with each other. For learners, it’s easier to get an idea of the subject that’s being explained if the slides look neat and clear.
Try to follow these recommendations:
- Structure information to make it easier to digest;
- Make important parts/facts bolder and brighter;
- Separate a text into smaller chunks with visible subheadings;
- Allocate objects on slides symmetrically.
Overall, if your aim is to deliver satisfying learning experiences, the ‘less is more’ principle will work well.
2. Direct attention with accents
Excessive use of different visual styles, fonts, and colors tends to overwhelm learners instead of grabbing their attention. The key is to maintain a common style for the entire slide deck but to set appropriate accents. You can do this by adding contrast and emphasizing certain elements with a color.
For example, the color theme of this online course made with iSpring Suite is light gray. However, it has eye-catching green accents that attract learners’ attention to the critical portions of the information.
Here you can easily find navigation elements, as they are also emphasized in a green color. Just as importantly, a gray and green color theme matches that company’s brand color scheme. These design settings can be saved and automatically applied to any of the company’s other courses.
3. Give learners control over the material
You can recontextualize the entire experience of taking courses online if you grant learners an opportunity to navigate the course in a way that’s convenient for them. Design your course in a way that enables learners to feel comfortable while traveling through the material and interacting with it.
For example, learners will embrace the possibility of changing the playback speed like they are used to doing on YouTube. Or, they can adjust the lightness by choosing between dark and light color schemes. You also can leverage customizable action buttons and branching, but that deserves its own article.
At any rate, coupled with interactivity, good design allows for simplicity of use and clarity of understanding. With proper authoring software, you can implement these principles effortlessly. Good luck!