Effective E-Learning: Graphics

Research had shown that graphics, be it line drawings, charts, and photographs and motion graphics such as animation and video, can improve learning when effectively used in an e-learning environment.


What is Effective Use of Graphics?

In this case, an effective use of graphics refer to those that are related to the material presented. Dr. Ruth Clark presented the findings of research conducted by Richard Mayer and his colleagues at the University of California at Santa Barbara in her article Six Principles of Effective E-Learning – What Works and Why published by Learning Solutions Magazine.

Research on the Use of Graphics

In his research, Mayer compared learning about various mechanical and scientific processes from lessons that used words alone or used words and graphics. In the majority of the cases in this research, he concluded that test subjects improved their understanding when pictures were included. On the flip side, the research indicated that unrelated graphics can actually depress learning. Clark further explained in her article that “while graphics can boost learning, it will be important to select the kind of graphic that is congruent with the text and with the learning goal. Graphics that are irrelevant or gratuitous actually depress learning. Consider selecting your graphics based on the type of content you are teaching.”

Learn More about Graphics and Effective E-learning

Read more about this multimedia principle of adding graphics to words to improve learning, as well as about the five other principles presented: contiguity principle, modality principle, redundancy principle, coherence principle, and personalization principle. Share your experiences with the use of graphics in e-learning in the comment section below.

Always in learning mode,

Your friends at ISD Now


E-learning Video 101

An e-learning video can be an instructional designer’s best friend. Producing a quality e-learning video can be relatively easy. It’s readily available to a wide audience. It demonstrates skills in real time fashion. And it has an evergreen shelf life.

How to Make an E-learning Video Stand Out

Start with the end in mind. What is your goal? What do you want learners to walk away with after participating in your e-learning video? Once you understand your goal, it’s time to design using key concepts to bring out your information in a logical, organized, and visually appealing manner, a manner that will tap into your learner’s senses.

e-learning video

Tap Into the Senses with an E-learning Video

To tap into the senses, an e-learning video must engage, must stimulate, and must create a desire in the learner’s mind to understand the information you’re presenting. For this to happen, an e-learning video should be produced with a few elements in mind.

Elements of an Effective E-learning Video

Panopto Blog wrote an interesting article on Five Tips for Making a Better E-Learning Video. They shared several key concepts to help keep learners engaged. They recommended the following for e-learning videos:

  • Keep learners engaged
  • Provide learners with an environment that is interactive
  • Visually appeal to a learner’s senses through variety in color, content, and imagery
  • Demonstrate key concepts by showing instead of just telling
  • Deliver accessibility across multiple platforms
  • Offer captioning for those who are hearing impaired

Do you have tips and tricks on how to create an effective e-learning video? We’d love to hear them. Please share them in the comments below.

Always in learning mode,
Your friends at ISD Now

Design Rules for e-learning

The design rules for e-learning can vary widely.

As e-learning professionals, we want to create environments where learners can thrive. That is the worthy goal. So, which rules do we follow to achieve higher learning outcomes?

Donald Clark wrote a blog post, Mayer & Clark – 10 brilliant design rules for e-learning, based on Richard Mayer and Ruth Clark’s research on media and media mix hypotheses in online learning. In this post he describes several key areas of design and their research findings. Below we’ve summarized some of the major points.

design-rules-for-e-learningSummary of Design Rules for e-learning:

Eliminate Redundancy
It is not necessary to toss in every media mix known to mankind to bring e-learning environments to life. In fact, research shows it has the opposite effect. Too much media mix can lead to cognitive overload.

White Space is Key
Research shows that less is more. Allow for breathing room with information. To do this, be concise and thoughtful in how you lay out the content. Keep words to a minimum. Organize words using bullet points, subheads, bolded keywords and pithy paragraphs.

Audio and Animation
To help a student achieve learning, use audio along with your animation rather than text. Using text with animation can causes cognitive confusion and can impede learning.

Graphics and Text
When text is located away from its associated graphic, learning can be decreased. When the learner has to scan the screen to read text that sits apart from its graphic, their learning can be disrupted. The trick here is to keep the text close by the graphic that it is complimenting. When this is done, according to research, problem solving is increased.

Keep it Conversational
Using first-person and second-person language keeps things conversational. Keeping it in a dialogue format opens up the learning environment to one that is interactive.

Design Rules for e-learning in a nutshell

To be effective, e-learning environments need to keep a learner’s attention focused on the topic at hand, need to minimize distraction, and need to help increase cognitive connection. For a more in-depth analysis of the research conducted on this area, please visit Donald Clark’s blog.

Always in learning mode,
Your friends at ISD Now

P.S. Please share your thoughts. Which one of the design rules for e-learning do you agree with the most?