Expert hacks for creating beautiful, branded eLearning courses


earners rely heavily on visual cues to understand and retain information. In fact, research has found that 90% of the information transmitted to the brain is visual. This makes visual design a critical aspect of eLearning, as it helps to effectively communicate key concepts and engage learners throughout the learning journey. 

As a Digital Design Lead at HowToo, I am passionate about visual design and believe that creating stunning learning content doesn't necessarily require a professional designer. I recently hosted a webinar to share my hacks on elevating your eLearning to the next level with practical and beautiful design. You can watch the webinar recording here or keep reading for my tips. 

Why is visual design important?

Visual design is a game-changer when it comes to capturing learners' attention and boosting their engagement and retention of information. When content is thoughtfully designed and presented clearly, it becomes easier to comprehend and remember.  

Effective design also means taking a careful approach to each element on the screen, ensuring that every component serves a purpose and facilitates learning. So instead of just throwing any old image on the page, consider the interactions and visuals that will best convey your content's meaning.

And let's not forget the emotional power of visual design. Using colors, imagery, and typography can help create a specific emotional response, such as excitement, calmness, or nostalgia. So why not harness the power of visual design to make learning even more memorable and enjoyable?

How to create beautiful looking courses? 

Now that we understand why visual design is essential to eLearning, let's look at how to go about creating beautiful learning. Here are my four hacks that will help you design engaging learning content that will keep your learners returning for more!

A gif showing a branded learning module in HowToo

#1 Brand your course content

One easy way to make your eLearning more visually appealing is by aligning it with your company's brand. This means adding your company's logos, imagery, font, and colors to your courses to elevate your learning design and ensure consistency. With HowToo, our theme designer allows you to customize your theme and apply it across all learning modules in just a few clicks. 

Some ways HowToo can help you create branded learning modules: 

  • Add your company logo so it is displayed in your learning academy.
  • Use your company's colour library, allowing you to choose which color for headings, accents, and buttons. 
  • Upload and apply your own fonts.
  • Company photos and imagery can be added to your learning blocks.
A gif showing how to add an image to a HowToo course

#2 Use mixed media

Mixing different types of media is a fantastic way to enhance the visual design of your eLearning courses. By incorporating a mix of photos, videos, and GIFs into your learning content, you can keep your learners engaged and excited. You might be wondering where to get your hands on these mixed media elements.

Luckily, there are plenty of great tools and websites out there that can help! Here are a few that I like to use:

  • Images: HowToo's image library is powered by Pexels, one of the best free online stock photo libraries. You can find a wide variety of high-quality images to enhance your courses.
  • Videos: Getty Images and Storyblocks are handy resources for pre-built videos and illustrations for your eLearning courses.
  • Gifs and animations: Canva and Vyond are great tools for creating your own GIFs or animations that you can download and then upload into HowToo.
  • AI : For those looking to take things to the next level, platforms like Midjourney and DALL.E  allow you to enter prompts that generate a graphic to download and use in your learning content.

#3 Design for accessibility

Another tip for creating beautiful eLearning courses that engage your audience is to make sure they're accessible. Digital accessibility is all about creating digital content that is usable by as many people as possible, regardless of their ability. I strongly believe that beautiful design and accessibility should go hand in hand.

Steps you can take to ensure that everyone can experience your visual content:

  • Use a high level of contrast between colors to make your content easier to read.
  • Add alt text to your images so that people who use screen readers can understand the content.
  • Include subtitles with your videos so that people who are deaf or hard of hearing can follow along.

Curious to learn more about why accessibility matters? Check out our blog

Thankfully, HowToo makes it easy to ensure your eLearning modules are accessible. We offer an accessibility checklist that scans your course and alerts you to any outstanding issues that need to be resolved. This takes the guesswork out of making your courses accessible and allows you to focus on creating visually stunning content that engages your learners.

A gif showing the HowToo library of ready-to-go courses

#4 Leverage existing templates and ready-to-go courses

Are you excited about designing visually stunning eLearning courses but feeling overwhelmed about where to start or you are short on time? HowToo's course templates and ready-to-go courses might be just what you need. Created by our team of learning designers, our templates give you a structure to follow for your learning modules, including recommended visual components and interactive elements. This is perfect for team training when you have a clear idea of what your content will entail but need some guidance on the course design.

Or if you're looking for something even more polished and professional, HowToo has a library of off-the-shelf courses that are pre-built learning modules with slick designs, ready to roll out in minutes. These ready-to-go courses are perfect for when you need to conduct training on a general business topic but still want the learning to look visually appealing. 

Incorporating effective visual design is crucial for creating engaging and memorable eLearning content. By taking a thoughtful approach to design elements such as branding, mixed media, and accessibility, and adopting various tools, you can elevate the quality of your courses without the need for professional design skills. So why not give these simple design hacks a try and see how they can transform your eLearning content? 

Explore our ready-to-go course library.

Apr 27, 2023
Learning Design

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