Using CRAP in ELearning Design

devIs your elearning designed with CRAP in mind?  Well, it should!

The CRAP method of instructional design doesn’t refer to the quality of your training, but rather the visual placement of the items you use within your elearning, particularly images and diagrams (but can also apply to text placement).

Specifically, CRAP refers to Contrast, Repetition, Alignment, and Proximity. When building out your courses, it is important to keep these items in mind as ignoring them can actually have a negative impact on the effectiveness of the training. Let’s look at these concepts a little more closely.

Contrast – One way to leverage contrast is to draw attention of the learner to a specific part of the screen, or even diagram. For example, if you are showing different parts of a software dashboard in your training, you can use a shadow to make the other parts of the image darker and then highlight the important area by keeping its original color. This helps to eliminate unnecessary distraction.

Repetition – This can refer to the design/color scheme of your images, but can also apply to the key objectives within your training. Human’s pick up on patterns relatively quickly, and in the same respect, we notice when the pattern is broken. As such, make sure you are repeating common color schemes in any charts you use. Also, repeating the major takeaways from the training content at multiple points in the elearning will help to solidify the learning.

Alignment – When done properly, alignment isn’t noticed (which is a good thing). However, everyone notices when something is misaligned. Similar to the way people pick up on patterns, we also tend to favor consistent organization. With this in mind, make sure that both images and text is properly aligned on the screen. This same template should be applied across the entire course.

Proximity – Spacing is extremely important in elearning. Related items should be close enough, but not too close or it will be distracting. The distance between the content and supporting diagrams is something that should be standardized across the course as well. The perceived quality of the course is significantly lower when there isn’t a standard proximity among the elements within it.

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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

1 Response

  1. Yes, Justin. Constrast is an important thing in Design. No matter if you work for someone, or you are a freelancer :).

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