5 Psychological Factors in ELearning

most-importantCreating effective elearning is more than putting together fancy graphics and animations – there is also a psychological element involved with the development process.

Instructional designers, the profession dedicated to creating effective live and online training, has known this for quite some time. Over the years there have been countless development models and general design tips to help maximize the effectiveness of training content.

The important thing to remember is that in any training event (be it online or in person) the communication is not only “one-way”. There is quite a bit of give-and-take involved with learning; if one side doesn’t participate fully, then the learning is lost.

In other words, there is a psychology to creating impactful training, elearning very much included. Below are some psychological considerations to keep in mind as you create your courses (as originally shared by SHIFT ELearning). Each one of these areas should be researched more fully, doing so will result in better learning retention.

5 Must-Know Psychological Factors

Cognitive – Try to gain an understanding into the mental processes like attention span, short & long term memory, and perception bias. By understanding the influences of these areas, you can present your content more effectively.

Color – It has been shown that our disposition can be easily influenced by the effective use of color. Choose colors that are appropriate for the content.

Reading Patterns – Pay attention to where you place important learning content within the course. Certain areas of the screen capture the attention of a users better than others. You will want to place the key points in places that not only capture, but also maintain the learner’s attention.

Gestalt – This has to do with the way the brain relates objects in relation to the visuals it is interpreting. For example, based on proximity, similarity, continuance, and white space.

Text – The typography you use in your elearning can go a long way in driving home the key points, but only if it is done effectively and consistently across the entire course.


Justin Ferriman is the co-founder and CEO of LearnDash, the WordPress LMS trusted by Fortune 500 companies, major universities, training organizations, and entrepreneurs worldwide for creating (and selling) their online courses. Let's Talk! | Twitter

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