Poorly designed eLearning course is like a misfortune, you either leave the course midway or you get a certificate without even remembering a word of it. You are among a very few lucky ones if eLearning interfaces don’t leave you confused. It’s a fact that online courses are always mobbed with screens flooded with just text or if at all there’s a helpful video, it bores you to death with a computer generated voice.
Hence, UX design for eLearning is really crucial. Good user experience can transform the way content is presented and remembered. The goal of any learning is to elevate learner’s knowledge, to create an impact in personal and professional life and this is not possible without a well-designed interface and well-crafted user journey. There are specific UX principles for designing effective learning solutions that simplify the learning process and delight learners.
1. Learner-centered UX design
It’s not the latest feature that learners are looking for, but the best way to access and engage with the eLearning resources. Therefore, it’s very important for designers to step into learner’s shoes and bring their perspective in the interface.
There are a few questions that you should be thinking about while designing an experience, for example, who are really your target learners, their demographics, existing level of knowledge and how tech-savvy they are. It also includes how they learn new information, how they would like to access this learning and how much time they will spend. But the most important information will be to inform them what result they will get and how it will benefit their life and career.
2. Multimedia for a fluid experience
Apple has designed the user experience of its devices in such a way that even the most technically challenged individual will not find it difficult to learn. Similarly, learning solutions should provide a fluid, seamless, and user-friendly experience where end users are least bothered about nuances of the interface. The key to creating such an experience is by breaking the monotony of text only learnings. You should use a combination of graphics, charts, videos and even audio content for a successful multimedia eLearning design.
3. The F pattern
According to a research by Nielsen Norman group, individuals tend to read web pages in F pattern and therefore the content layout should follow the F shape. It starts with the top left corner, which is the most important part of a web page and should feature the most relevant information along with eye-catching images. The white space will dilute the content as the learner move towards the down of page. Learners will be able to understand the content better and the course will match their expectations.
4. Minimalism for smooth content flow
The key to smooth experience is minimizing clutter as decorating content can have a negative effect on the learning layout. The learner interface design should have a flow of readable content, presenting new information and applying it in work context with relevant examples.
The content should be complemented with the right images that resonate with the content. There should a uniformity across the image size, quality, format and placement. Similarly, you should avoid using three or more colors or font sizes. Call-to-action button prompts learner to take an urgent step, the button should match the concern and the issue in a group or apply information related to their personal surroundings.
5. Scan and not read
Most of the learners scan content and therefore the content should be crisp so that it can be skimmed and learners will be able to make sense of the content before they actually start learning it. Brief and precise headings, short and meaningful content, and highlighted points add a value to content. The best way to uncomplicate an information overload is by representing it in the visual format. You can even use animations for complex processes, which work better than static images.
People look for similarities everywhere, even in their learning. Maintaining a uniform pattern across the entire user interface will bring a sense of predictability and makes learners more comfortable. Learner expects the same layout, theme, and navigation, even the way content is categorized, labeled or placed within the course. Although learnings should have unique titles, you should name same topics in a similar way. Learners take less time in figuring out the similar content this way.
7. Multi-device compatibility
Learners are accessing eLearnings on multiple devices, on different platforms and for many different purposes. Therefore, it’s recommended to have a multi-device learning experience for every type of target device and user behavior. Responsive design for eLearning paves the way for content and layout that’s consistent across all device types. Then, you should test the multi-device eLearnings across different devices and platforms.
To sum up,
Nowadays, even toddlers can open Youtube and can play their favorite videos on an iPad, even before they start speaking. But designing a learning interface targeted at adults is a little different. It has to be simple, clear and scannable so that learners can assimilate the essential information in the quickest way.
These principles are quite helpful for designing an effective learning experience. However, you can blend them with motivation and personalization to engage users more in the interface. The more they engage with the course material, the more learning happens and the more successful an interface and user experience will be.