A Designer’s guide to creating fun and immersive eLearning platforms
With the Covid-19 pandemic engulfing the world, the education sector was one of the earliest ones to move online. Today, when eLearning interfaces have become central to most kinds of learning, it is absolutely necessary to create a good online learning experience.
In this article, we’ll help you understand some key elements of designing for eLearning and how a good learning experience can bring more value to your eLearning platform.
But before we dive in, let us first look at the different types of online learning models.
Different types of eLearning models
Knowing which model your eLearning platform falls under will help you identify the right user persona and design accordingly. Needless to say, like all other digital experiences, an eLearning experience can be good only when it meets the needs of its learners.
UX/UI approach to designing for eLearning
Designing for eLearning platforms is more than just UX and UI design.
It includes several overlapping aspects of Learning Experience Design (LXD) and Instructional Design (ID) which need to be carefully considered throughout the process.
Any good eLearning experience must strike a balance between all these aspects. Continue reading to find out how our eLearning design processes enable us to do so.
A good UX approach when designing for an eLearning platform is one that keeps the end-user in mind. The goal is to engage the learner and make it as easy as possible for them to learn what the eLearning course is trying to teach them. We believe that good UX is just as important as Instructional Design.
By employing several investigative and generative methods, we understand the learners’ needs and their context at all stages of design and development to ensure a seamless learning journey.
Defining The Right User Persona
Defining the right user persona is critical to the entire process of designing for eLearning. We use empathy-mapping to identify specifics about who the learner is, why they want to enrol for the course, what they want to achieve through it, etc. that helps us empathise with their needs, goals, skills, attitudes, and behaviours.
Predictability is very important for an intuitive and transparent eLearning experience. Learners are often met with either too many or too few options when navigating which leads to confusion and lack of trust. While too much information can distract the learner from the goal, too little information can make them feel under-confident.
Let’s take the conventional classroom setting as an example here.
When at school, students know exactly how their schedule for the day looks like, what subjects they’ll learn, and which teacher to get in touch with for any queries they may have. This makes the task seem easier and effortless to them.
Similarly, a predictable design makes the user feel confident and prepared. Learners should never have to ask questions like ‘How do I close this pop-up?’, ‘How do I submit my task?’ or ‘How do I move to the next module?’ What to do next and how should come naturally to them. In a nutshell, it is always better to follow commonly accepted patterns while designing.
Content and Communication
According to a study by the Brandon-Hall group, eLearning requires 40-60% less instruction time as compared to a traditional classroom learning.
A good design for eLearning allows the learner to identify information that is relevant to them without making it overbearing. The content should be easy to scan, written in small paragraphs, and precise with correct headings and subheadings that summarize the text.
Although content design falls largely under the domain of Instructional Design, we often recommend the best practices that help our clients in personalizing the content.
Communication is also equally important to increase the learners’ productivity.
Isolation and lack of support are often considered to be the pitfalls of a bad design for eLearning and are frequently cited as culprits for lack of engagement.
A good interface fosters these connections, helps learners interact with each other and their mentors while learning, thus making the communication easier.
Gamification is an essential component for designing an eLearning system.
While this term seems inextricably associated with eLearning, it has been a part of the traditional classroom setting for a long time – be it in the form of awarding points for meeting academic objectives, or using role-play techniques to teach certain topics etc.
Gamification helps engage learners by presenting content in integration with game elements. Gamification works on a simple principle. It traces how traditional games work and tries applying similar strategies or elements to achieve the desired learning outcomes.
It uses the game elements as a reward for completing training modules. Think of badges, leader-boards, motivation triggers, or progress bars as examples.
While designing for eLearning interfaces, gamification not only makes learning fun but at the same time increases retention of what has been learnt. Instant feedback helps the learners understand what they already know and what they should know.
Some learners also share their badges or progress on social media, encouraging positive competition and instant marketing of your interface.
Micro-interactions: Focusing on Details
Micro-interactions play a significant role in our digital lives.
They are trigger-feedback pairs in which the trigger can be a user action or an alteration in the system’s state followed by feedback, which is a narrowly targeted response to the trigger.
In simple terms, micro-interactions are small moments when the user and design interact with the details of each element.
We want learners to revisit the course repeatedly like a habit, and micro-interactions can help form these habits. This can be done by keeping the learners engaged, using animations, focusing on their emotions, and keeping the design predictable.
Mobile-friendly designs provide flexibility to learners and should be kept in mind when designing the interface. Learning should not stop when users turn their computers off. A responsive design helps learners learn without disrupting the flow and consistency and keeps momentum, hence proving to be more user-friendly.
eLearning has the potential to change the way we perceive knowledge transfer and a good design can dramatically improve the learning experience, given we keep the users in mind.
A stellar learning experience means more visits and a better conversion rate. While these are only some essential basics of a good design, there’s much more to it.
If you already have an eLearning interface or are looking to create one from scratch, do not hesitate to contact us for your project. Call us or email us, and we will be delighted to discuss it further with you.
You can check some of our eLearning studies here.