Instructional design is a field that ties together the worlds of instructional design, graphic design, and user experience (UX). With an eye on both the look and feel of a learning experience as well as its effectiveness, instructional designers can help make eLearning easier to digest for learners—and also improve their own career aspirations.
With this in mind, we’ve put together some tips for how you can use your skills in UX and graphic design to support your work as an instructional designer. Let’s dive right into them!
1. Choose the right type of visual representation for your message.
When you’re creating visuals for your courses, it’s important to choose the right type of visual for your message. Different types of learners have different needs, so it’s important that you match the right kind of icon or illustration with each group.
● Use icons when you want to communicate an idea quickly or when you need to communicate a large number of concepts at once (such as in an infographic).
● Use illustrations when you want to illustrate processes or ideas in detail, such as showing how something works or how it fits into people’s lives (like a user interface).
● Consider your audience and their diverse backgrounds: Different graphics can have different meanings across cultures. Consider those with visual impairments or other disabilities.
2. Consider their learning preference and how they best learn and organize information in order to choose which delivery method is most appropriate (written, auditory, or visual).
You should consider your learner’s learning preference. How do they prefer to learn information. As a rule of thumb, provide learners with all three modalities and give them options to learn in the way that best suits them. For example, for an eLearning course, have a script or closed captioning for those who like to read the content, engaging and impactful visuals for those who prefer to focus on visuals, and narrated audio for those who want to listen to the audio. And, one side note, give your learners control. Give them the ability to show or not show the script or captions, and enable them to listen or to mute the audio.
3. Apply principles of good design when creating training materials or presentations.
To create a more effective training experience, you must understand the principles of good design. The following are some basic guidelines:
● Use color theory: Colors can be used to convey different meanings and emotions in your visual designs. For example, red may be associated with anger or passion while blue is often associated with calmness and peace. We love Canva’s color meanings site. It is a great resource.
● Use visual hierarchy: This refers to the arrangement of elements on a page so that readers will see what’s most important first, second most important next, etc., until they reach the least important element at the bottom (or sometimes left). It’s also known as “orderly arrangement” or “organization.” This concept is especially helpful when designing instructional materials where learners will need help prioritizing information based on their learning objectives or goals so they know what steps they should take next–and which ones aren’t important right now but might come up later!
● Use repetition and variation effectively: Repetition involves repeating an element throughout your design while variation involves changing one aspect slightly each time it appears again (like making sure every instance has slight changes in color). These two principles work together nicely because they both emphasize continuity while allowing room for variety within each item being repeated/varied upon.” You can apply this concept when you are creating participant guides or eLearning buttons or other interactivities.
AGraphic design is a critical part of the instructional design process. It can make or break your course and has a huge impact on the way learners engage with your learning materials. Here are some of our favorite resources for creating stellar graphics:
- Canva for Instructional Designers (free or Pro version)
- Microsoft PowerPoint
- Drawing Tablets
- Inkscape (free)
- Adobe Creative Suite
- Articulate Storyline
What other tools do you use?