February 8th, 2015 Instructional Design

instructional-designerIf you have a tight timeline to create an effective elearning course, then it can become difficult to ensure your course adheres to the leading design principles.

Granted, the more time you spend creating courses the more natural it is to incorporate these elements. Still, it never hurts to double-check your work.

With so many elements to keep track of when creating a course, how do you know which ones to pay attention to?

I suppose this is a bit of a loaded question since you really should get into the habit of effective elearning development no matter what the situation. However, if you are looking for some general course development guidelines, the tips below (originally detailed by SHIFT ELearning) will put your development onto the right path from the beginning.

TIP #1: Storyboard First

Before you jump into design, take a moment to create an outline for your course (known as a storyboard). At the very least this will force you to think about the general hierarchy of the content and you won’t waste time during the development stage.

TIP #2: Use Sans Serif Fonts

One common mistake from less-seasoned instructional designers is font selection. Sans serif font has a reputation of being easy to read on a computer screen. If you select a sans serif font, you can focus on other elements knowing your font selection is optimal for on-screen training.

TIP #3: Repeat Design Elements

Each section of your course should share design elements. First, this helps with continuity of the presentation. A nice side-benefit though is that you are leveraging your previous efforts so as to put more time into content verification.

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About Justin Ferriman

Justin Ferriman started LearnDash, the WordPress LMS trusted by Fortune 500 companies, major universities, training organizations, and entrepreneurs worldwide for creating (and selling) their online courses. Justin's Homepage | Twitter


3 responses

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Hi Justin – thanks for the tips.
I’m about to embark on the journey of creating a course so wish me luck!

Not sure what you mean by this … “TIP #3: Repeat Design Elements
Each section of your course should share design elements.”

What design elements? Can you explain further – perhaps I missed an article somewhere?


Avatar Keely

Hi Keely-

Thanks for the comment. Repeating design elements refers to a variety of aspects – including but not limited to the general aesthetics of charts, graphs, page layout, text, positioning of common elements (i.e. bullet points) and more. Many people will create a style-guide to help manage this aspect of elearning design. This article discusses the design portions of a course in a bit more detail.

Hi Keely,

I think what Justin is meaning is the components of your course should have a consistent look and feel. For example, all of your headings should be the same font, color, etc. The type size and color of the text should also be consistent and easy to read.

Personally, I also make my images in quizzes and topics the same size and I try to keep the format of my questions the same. For me it’s all about a consistent look and feel.



PS: Good luck on your new journey.

Avatar Andrew

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