Doubling the Impact of Custom Learning Design: Tips for Applying Great Design

9/13/2021

Researchers have long hypothesized that colors and design play a role in our mood, concentration, and ability to retain information. After all, 80% of information processing comes from sight, and visual cues influence humans. Studies show learning outcomes improve when learners have a positive emotional reaction to design and color choice – yet for many companies, intentional design is an afterthought for custom learning programs.

At Ardent, we believe in the power of design. Our Creative Services team is an integral part of every custom program we develop – our strategies include design from the get-go. The proof that design is a significant factor for learning success is clear, thanks to the success of award-winning client programs.

How can you lead with design to improve learning outcomes for your team? Here are a few tips to get started.

Be Engaging and Interactive

One of the essential factors in successful custom learning design is interactivity. Learners are more likely to stay engaged and retain information when they have opportunities for interaction with content, which means that interactive programs do well on performance metrics like completion or retention rates.

The best way to design an engaging and interactive program is by using the right combination of visuals, animation, sound effects, contrasting colors, and movement in videos – and you might even consider adding graphics for visually impaired learners. By incorporating these elements, learners are more apt to comprehend and remember what they've seen.

Help Learners Vizualize Concepts

Good design can help learners visualize concepts and ideas in new ways. It's not enough to just read about a concept. Learners should be able to use other senses as well as visual cues to help them understand. Different colors, shapes, textures, and graphics help this visualization by representing abstract ideas with concrete visual cues. For instance, if you're presenting a new feature for a product to your sales team, graphics representing core features or benefits may help them better understand how the features work.

Incorporate a Holistic Approach

We often see companies start with great design or marketing strategies, then add an instructional designer to create content. Others start with content and leave the design to the end. Both are poor approaches because you can't build effective learning without considering how the learner will interact. Design and content must be created in tandem.

Your custom solution must include sound design principles, so learners can stay engaged and learn more effectively. Good design is innovative, unobtrusive, thorough and detailed, and useful. A successful custom program should include good design, well-written content, and thought for how a learner will consume the content.

Don't Forget Accessibility

Good design should provide success for learners of all ages and abilities, including differently-abled learners or those with special needs. Programs should be accessible to those who are colorblind or have limited vision. The best way to do this is by using contrasting colors and high contrast text for learners with low vision, along with audio captions and transcripts of video content. Your design may also help account for neurodiversity by providing alternative ways to access information, supporting all learning styles.

Purposeful Design Is Our Specialty

The Ardent Creative Services team jumps in from day one of a client project to improve learning outcomes and help our clients provide training that meets and exceeds learning goals. We want to congratulate our team for their Platinum and Gold wins at the Hermes Creative Awards!

Does your learning program need design support? Schedule a time to chat with our team and learn more about the award-winning design solutions at Ardent!

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