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Images & your online course

It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words. Images can greatly enhance the learning experience of your online course. However, as with all powerful tools, knowing when and how to use them is an important skill every course designer must have.


Image usage tips

  1. Dont clutter your course with unnecessary visuals. Just because you can add a drop shadow and five different animations to an image doesnt mean you should. Pick a few effects and use only those consistently throughout your course on photos, shapes, and animations. This keeps your design cohesive and adds a professional feel to the course without being boring.
  2. When possible, use custom photography. This adds a personal element to the course. It also ensures that youre guaranteed to get the right context instead of someone fretting over a small detail such as the way your lobby looks in a simulation. Its simple! Ask HR for permission, grab your smartphone, or have an employee bring in his or her personal camera, and start shooting. Just remember to turn on the grid feature, so you can take a level picture, or invest in a smartphone tripod.
  3. Make sure images are optimized for Web viewing by selecting or converting images to optimal file types. Its best to use GIFs for lines and shapes, PNGs for small images or anything requiring transparency, and JPEGs for larger images. You should also optimize the file size by making sure you save an edited image in its new format.


Before downloading or taking an image, ask yourself these five questions:

Does the image reinforce your message?

Weve all seen eLearning that features endless stock photos of people in business environments, sitting at desks but not actually doing anything related to the job your learners are training for. Dont fall into that trap! Take the time to create your own images if your budget allows, or really search through stock photo sites to find the best image.


Does it invoke interest or excitement?

Remember, the best visuals are those that evoke an emotional response. Choose an image that will make your learners laugh, or something that gets them excited. People are naturally drawn to photos that follow basic design principles, such as the Rule of Thirds or Fibonacci Sequence concepts discussed earlier.


Does it attract your learners attention?

Your image should be more than just generic clipart. It needs to stand out and grab your learners eye. Use bright colors and detailed images to draw your learner in.


Does it convey the right message to learners?

Consider the context and location where your course will be used. You want to select images that will make sense to your learners and convey the correct impression. Weve all laughed at the viral photos of mistranslated signs and logosdont let that happen to your eLearning course!


Is the style consistent with other graphics used in the course?

To keep your couse looking neat and professional, dont mix and match clipart and photos. Clipart photos are tempting because they generally have a small file size, but they also dont resonate as much as real photos do. If you cant find photos that fit your eLearning, high quality vector images and silhouettes are the best alternatives.





04 May 2018

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