eLearning LMS

5 Tips for Designing Effective Visual eLearning Content

by Debbie Williams

When using a computer or some other device that connects you to the Internet, 80 percent of what your brain processes comes from what you see on the screen, not from what you hear1.  This explains why the visual content of an eLearning course is critical to a learner’s comprehension of the subject matter. It may seem complicated, but designing effective visual eLearning content can be painless. Even beginner eLearning administrators can accomplish this task with ease.

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5 Tips for Designing Effective Visual eLearning Content

You don’t necessarily need years of experience in instructional design to visually create eLearning courses that drive results. Design eLearning your audience will respond well to by:

  1. Grabbing learners’ attention with statistics, not objectives -- Don’t bore your audience by beginning an eLearning course with a bulleted list of objectives. Immediately engage employees by introducing the course with statistics concerning the subject being taught.
  1. Leaving enough white space -- When it comes to designing an eLearning course, white space is every bit as important as text and graphics. “The significance of white space lies in that it helps learners have a better understanding of what is important and what is not. Also, it paves the path to better comprehension and presentation of ideas, along with effective learning design,” wrote instructional designer Anand Timothy².
  1. Using images and videos -- Images and videos are critical to the proper design of an eLearning course. They break up content, evoke emotions, and emphasize key points of training. When choosing images, stay away from clip art. Instead, opt for high-quality photographs. Use two-minute videos that summarize what is being taught. Beware of using excessive images and videos, as this can be distracting.
  1. Keeping things simple -- When it comes to eLearning, a simple visual design is best. A screen full of images, videos, and highlighted text may look modern, but it is distracting and discourages learner participation. Graphic designer Nancy Duarte said that 90 percent of what eLearning developers create is destructing. In other words, most of what an instructional designer should do is simplify a course’s design, removing irrelevant visual components.2
  1. Utilizing color psychology -- Color matters very much in the visual design of eLearning. Just enough of the right color can evoke emotions and engage learners with a course. Conversely, too much of the wrong color can result in sensory overload. eLearning designer Karla Gutierrez said that eLearning administrators should study color psychology and apply its principles to instructional design. She provided some helpful tips for utilizing color psychology in eLearning design:1

  • To direct learners’ attention, use warm shades.
  • Use bold colors, but not bright colors. Brighter hues are difficult to read.
  • Contrast chromatic colors (not black, white, or grey) in the text and background. This can improve readability by up to 40 percent.  
  • Communicate course meaning by using colors significant to a learner’s culture. For example, in Western society, red indicates danger, black is associated with death and negativity, and blue and green are considered calming and peaceful. This isn’t the case with every culture. Understanding how your audience perceives color will help you design eLearning that promotes comprehension and retention of training.

A learning management system makes designing visually appealing, effective eLearning courses easy and fun, even for beginner eLearning administrators. Request a free demo of TOPYX LMS to give these instructional design tips a try for yourself.


Related Reading: How to Design eLearning Content That Drives Results


  1. Shift eLearning. 6 ways color psychology can be used to design effective eLearning. https://www.shiftelearning.com/blog/bid/348188/6-Ways-Color-Psychology-Can-Be-Used-to-Design-Effective-eLearning. June 12, 2014.

  1. eLearning Industry. 7 instructional design tips for effective eLearning. https://elearningindustry.com/7-instructional-design-tips-effective-elearning. July 17, 2015.  
Debbie Williams

Debbie Williams

Director, Marketing