Which Visual Approach Should You Use to Optimize Your e‑Learning Training?
The graphic orientation is composed of several elements including layout, colors, fonts and media used to represent content and concepts. A good visual approach can transform an ordinary course into a meaningful and memorable experience. With the variety of media available out there, how can you make the right choice?
The Third Dimension for an Immersive Experience
3D is appreciated by many, but using it for this sole purpose is an erroneous approach.
Here are the strengths of this medium:
Tasks that require manual dexterity could benefit from the third dimension. You would like to develop an engine repair course? A three-dimensional object would add value to your training by allowing the learner to visualize all angles.
This approach could also be effective for a safety training or workplace simulations. Imagine a totally immersive environment that the learner is free to explore. One could even ask him or her to pinpoint the risks and dangers in a specific scene.
2D Illustrations: Less Is More
2D illustrations, such as graphs and pictograms, require fewer cognitive resources. Their clean lines create fewer distractions, avoid misunderstandings and facilitate a rapid visual scanning because they contain less information to process.
The illustrations may be more effective to:
• Focus only on the main message and avoid distractions;
• Ensure that learners recognize an object or a concept quickly;
• Provide a visual cue (signage) to help understand the content;
• Overcome a low level of literacy.
Simple illustrations also provide an explanation for those with limited knowledge of the content. For example, for a cooking class for beginners, you can choose icons that explain the use of various utensils. In contrast, photos or videos would be preferable to learn about different types of knives during a training for more experienced chefs.
Realism Through Photos
It is recommended to use high resolution photos and images when this method caters to a particular notion.
For example, if you need to demonstrate the distinctions between different textiles, the best way would be to use close-up pictures of these fabrics.
You are producing a training about customer service? The use of photos and / or videos enables the creation of realistic scenarios between the salesperson and the customer, whereas 3D characters do not convey emotions as efficiently.
There are of course other factors that influence the choice of media, such as budget, time and resources available. It is still important to take a moment to reflect at the beginning of the project to assess the pros and cons of each visual approach. This will ensure an informed and relevant choice is made in order to achieve your training goals.
Palm, Christopher. 3D e-Learning, Closer Than You May Think, Allen Interaction. 2013.
Stanic, Tadej. 4 Rules for Using Graphics in eLearning, eLearning industry, 2014.
Malamed, Connie. Realistic Graphics and Learning: What’s most effective?, the eLearning Coach, 2010.