5 Marketing Design Techniques for Standout E-Learning

By Daniel Wallace


E-learning and other digital learning solutions are pervasive and popular alternatives to traditional classroom training. However, the more digital courses there are, the tougher it can be for your course to stand out from the pack. While excellent content is key, your course’s user interface (UI) plays a big part in whether learners will take action or put your course off for later.

After all, according to research by Gitte Lindgaard and her colleagues Cathy Dudek, Gary Fernandes, and J. Brown, it takes just 50 milliseconds for someone to decide on a website based on its visual appeal. Use these five marketing design techniques to make the most out of those milliseconds and capture your learners’ attention.

1. Choose Your Colors Wisely

In marketing, something as simple as choosing the right colors can influence how customers view a product. Similarly, colors can have a major impact on how others view your digital learning course. Colors are powerful because each one can spark a specific emotion or feeling. This, in turn, can impact your learners’ willingness to continue your course.

Think hard about the message you want your brand to convey. Then, use color psychology to help you decide which color best suits your brand. For example, blue is a popular color for many courses because it appears professional and has a calming effect. When choosing your color palette, it’s important to remember that some colors tend to clash. So, try to select colors that you know complement each other.

Another way to draw attention is to contrast colors. For example, you can highlight important messages or key points in bright colors against muted colors such as grey or black.

2. Aim for Simplicity

Less is more when it comes to designing your e-learning or digital learning course. We live in a world of short attention spans. Keeping the font, shapes, and other graphics simple helps avoid distraction from the main message.

I recommend using circles rather than abstract shapes and no more than two fonts. Although it may be tempting to share loads of information all at once, resist that impulse. Try to break down wordy content into a single concise message. This also reinforces adult learning theories of “chunking” information and avoiding cognitive overload.

3. Use Negative Space

Some people may view the space between design elements as an opportunity to add more elements. But most of the time, it’s a better choice to embrace the empty area commonly known as negative space. When you leave this space untouched, you draw more attention to the main message or element.

4. Add Illustrations

Using illustrations or sketches is a great way to add personality and creativity to your e-learning course. People typically view sketches as friendly, approachable, and unique. Because they can be created to directly explain your learning point and are distinctive, they have more impact than a general photo.

That said, custom illustrations are often not in a project’s scope, and it’s better to use relevant photos than no photos. Overall, using illustrations, sketches, or photos can make your main messages memorable.

5. Reduce Complexity

Have you ever visited a website wanting to purchase an item, but then left the site empty-handed and frustrated because you couldn’t find it? Many companies lose customers because their website is just too complex to navigate. One way marketers keep customers interested is by reducing the number of steps or options on a website. This makes it much easier for customers to find and purchase products.

Learners, too, will lose interest or just give up altogether if they can’t find the information they need with ease. You can persuade learners to learn by keeping your course clean, simple, and easy to navigate.

Take Your E-Learning Course to the Next Level

If your e-learning course has top-notch content but it’s not attracting learners, take a look at the marketing industry to improve the user interface.

In the visual world we live in, look and feel can make all the difference in the success of your course. Marketers and learning professionals alike can influence attitudes and behavior when we choose colors that tie to the brand, make the most of negative space, minimize elements, add fun illustrations, and practice reduction.

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