Generations before, education traditionally has not been subject to significant changes. Now, eLearning is revolutionizing the way students learn. Technological advances allow them to adjust learning materials and adopt some brand new approaches to the educational process.
Visual elements are the features strongly associated with eLearning. Pictures and other visual components are frequently interactive; when used in educational software development, they make learning subjects much more fascinating for students. It’s been a while since the impact of visualization was first discovered:
- Articles featuring images produce 650% higher engagement than text-only materials.
- Users who follow directions with text and illustrations perform 323% better than those following directions with no visual component.
- Same about eLearning tools. The question is not whether you should add visuals to your lessons but rather how to do it most effectively.
From our post, you will learn how to use different types of visuals to improve your eLearning product.
Types of visuals in eLearning
Before we jump to explaining how to use visuals in eLearning, we need to start from the very beginning and describe the basic types of graphic elements suitable for online courses.
We also need to mention that there are no limits here – anything you can imagine is perfectly fine as long as it supplements the content presented in your educational materials. Still, the features we are going to list proved to be suitable for almost every type of eLearning course. Without further ado, let’s check them out:
- Images: This point is obvious – you can use all sorts of pictures to make your lessons more impressive.
- Illustrations: If you can’t find a quality image to support your content, feel free to have an illustration created. The point remains the same and you don’t have to settle for anything less than perfect.
- Infographics: It’s a super-useful feature which we will discuss thoroughly in the next paragraph.
- Screenshots: Sometimes you want to give a real-life example, which is where screenshots can play their role in eLearning. After all, you don’t have to shoot a photo if you can just take it from the existing source (of course, giving the credit).
- Charts and graphics: These types of visuals are mandatory for eLearning lessons that include a lot of statistical facts.
- Timelines: It’s an irreplaceable component when you want to show progress in a certain timeframe.
- Animations and GIFs: You can also create a small motion picture show using GIFs or animations. Such a tactic is great for breaking the ice early on.
- Videos: The Internet is flooded with all sorts of amazing videos. We don’t recommend adding too many clips to eLearning materials, but a good educational video never did hurt anyone if included every once in a while.
Top-7 things to know when using visuals in eLearning
Now that you know the types of visuals for eLearning, time to find out how to use them. Our goal is to help you with selection, so read on to learn the seven key tricks.
1. Identify the right type of visual
You can’t just rush into things and pick a random image for your studying materials. What you need to do is approach the selection process thoroughly and choose the visual that is perfectly appropriate.
As we explained already, each type of visual format has its own purpose and meaning. Images can be used almost everywhere, but charts or GIFs are definitely not something to be added to all presentations.
Jake Gardner, an eLearning content creator at AssignmentMasters, says it’s important to answer a few questions before making the decision: “What is the goal of this visual? Do you want to evoke emotions or present data-driven insights? The element you choose must support the content in general, so you have to understand answers to these questions well in advance.”
2. Think about the target audience
Another detail you need to consider is the audience you are targeting. It can make or destroy your hopes of improving eLearning courses with visual effects, which forces you to think about the characteristics of the average consumer of a course like yours.
Time to compose a buyer persona and identify all of their fundamental traits. For example, custom research paper writers know that their clients are young students who demand high-quality academic assignments, so it’s easy to understand the best style for this type of content. But eLearning courses can touch upon multiple other fields or life and work, so we strongly recommend you to identify the following:
- Demographic features such as age, location, and gender.
- Cultural background and the level of education.
- Average income.
- Personal interests, lifestyle, beliefs, and values.
- All those inputs will help you to understand the mind of your audience and to identify the most appropriate visuals for your courses.
3. Combine visuals with texts
No matter how beautiful or well-made, solely visuals cannot deliver the message to its fullest extent. To achieve better results, you need to combine images and other types of visual content with textual content so as to reach the highest level of clarity and simplicity.
Vivid examples can be found in traditional textbooks, in which every image is followed by a short line of text that explains the meaning of an image in detail. Of course, you have to be a prolific author if you want to come up with effective one-liners for each photo.
These lines of text must be concise and straightforward, not leaving room for any misinterpretations. Make sure to use actionable statements and avoid slang or jargon that can be confusing for readers. If this sounds like a little too much for your skills, you can always turn to professional copywriters that create a copy by your request.
4. Use photos depicting people’s faces
This hack that is applicable to any sphere, eLearning included, is strictly psychological but does miracles retention-wise. More precisely, students tend to focus on real human faces very strongly, which encourages them to pay attention to and memorize more details than they would otherwise.
In other words, the idea here is to find images with real people who are performing some sort of activity. Such visuals look native and convincing, which makes them the best way to drive engagement and get the reactions you need from participants.
5. Opt for the right colors
This point is also critical because colors you use make a huge impact on the overall appearance of your eLearning materials and the way learners perceive them. Each color has been proven to have a special meaning and connotation, so you need to create a color palette that perfectly reflects your ideas and intentions.
For instance, blue is the color of authority that is perfect for serious eLearning courses with participants who demand logical explanations, facts, and statistical insights. On the other hand, red beams energy and therefore is the most relevant for young learners who need an occasional power boost. Meanwhile, green is ideal for environmentally friendly topics. The list goes on, but it’s up to you to analyze each color and come up with a scheme that corresponds with your learning goals.
6. Create a standout infographic
Did you know that an infographic is 30 times more likely to be noticed than an exclusively textual article? This type of visuals is a huge hit in the digital universe and eLearning is by no means an exception. But how do you make a standout infographic?
Even though infographics are visual content in essence, they still follow the same structure as textual posts:
- An introduction: This is actually a headline followed by one or two sentences that get readers acquainted with the topic.
- A body part: Here you need to discuss all of the major issues and divide them into several units to make the content more understandable and visually appealing.
- A conclusion: There is no classical conclusion, but rather a call to action based on the goal of your lesson.
The best thing about infographics is that you don’t have to be a professional designer to create a decent one. All you need is a simple tool like Canva to make your own version of an infographic within minutes.
7. Search for content on free stock image websites
We saved the best for last! Who says you always have to shoot photos or design other types of visuals single-handedly? The Internet is packed with websites offering high-quality free stock images, so we strongly encourage you to check them out.
Sites like Unsplash, StockSnap, or Pixabay offer millions of high-resolution images and animations that you can use free of charge. Everything is only a few clicks away from you since you can browse those websites by categories or search by keywords to find the best solutions for your eLearning materials.
eLearning is affecting traditional education because it’s not afraid of embracing new tendencies. The ultimate objective of the new studying model is to turn learning into something more dynamic, effective, and informative using state of the art technological means.
Images and other visuals represent one of the most powerful features in this field because they help students to learn quicker and remember more. In this post, we showed you how to use different types of visuals to improve your eLearning courses. Keep our tips in mind and don’t forget to use them in your courses – they are very likely to bring your lessons to a whole new level.