Showing My Work #3

28 Nov

The Showing My Work series of posts are what I’m using to ‘narrate’ the projects that I’m working on or have developed.

I believe that the visual design of an eLearning module is a really important part of the overall learning experience. After all, the look and feel of the course is the first thing that the learners see. It helps to catch their attention and draw them into the module. It can also add a great deal of interest to the module.

However, the visual design is an area that I really struggle with at times, trying to come up with ideas. I get there eventually but sometimes it takes a while and it doesn’t come easy to me. It’s also an area that I’m conscious that I need to work on and I want to.

Recently, I created a work health and safety (WHS) induction module for my organisation. When I started developing the look and feel, I defaulted to the yellow and black safety colours but I still found that it looked a bit PowerPointy as you can see by these mock-up designs that I came up with:


I didn’t really like any of them and I felt a bit stuck. Then one morning I went to our lunchroom to get a coffee and I saw this:


I’d walked past it every day, knowing it was there but not really seeing it. There’s a lot of safety notices on there and the boards in all the lunch areas so I figured people would be familiar with them and it would tie in nicely with the topic of module. It led me to come up with a design based on this theme:




The board is a common element for every screen. Then I used different combinations of notes and photos depending on what was needed for the screen. It goes to show that an idea can come from anywhere! What’s your impression of the visual design for this course?

I’ve found that the Articulate Community Showcase is a great place for some visual design inspiration.

Where do you get your ideas from when it comes to the look and feel of your course?


Posted by on November 28, 2013 in Show Your Work


Tags: , , , , , ,

10 responses to “Showing My Work #3

  1. Jana

    November 29, 2013 at 9:55 am

    I think it’s great. I also use a structure similar to yours, but also connect different parts with arrows to help learners to se the connections between different parts and to present them some kind of a learning path.

  2. cedbo

    November 29, 2013 at 1:12 pm

    Great idea ! Also think look&feel is such an important aspect of L&D… having said that I just saw in my inbox a 500pg induction doc in pdf with no visuals just text, tables and corporate branding arghh..
    What I like here is that you integrate elements from day-to-day office life and create an emotional context, it also seems to nicely break the linearity which I find sometimes tiring in elearning modules
    Thanks for showing your -creative- work

  3. David Anderson (@elearning)

    December 1, 2013 at 7:36 pm

    Great examples, Matt. I really like the organic feel of corkboard themes and how you pulled from your own work environment.

  4. David Dumonde

    December 21, 2013 at 2:31 pm

    Matt, it’s not at all unusual to struggle with visual design, but in general the simpler the design the better. It isn’t always true that visuals help to draw learners in or grab their attention. Research shows that the opposite is often true.

    Your bulletin board designs work better than your safety warning designs for this reason. Even among your bulletin boards, the one with the “What to do?” question works better than the others. Based on what I’ve said, why do you think I say that?

    Let me recommend the books by Ruth Colvin Clark, especially Graphics for Learning: Proven Guidelines for Planning, Designing, and Evaluating Visuals in Training Materials. Clark’s books are all solidly research based, well-written, and full of valuable insights. You can find more at

    • learningsnippets

      December 22, 2013 at 9:50 pm

      Hi David,

      Thanks for your feedback and comments. Is the reason that the “what to do?” question works better becasue the learner has to think and make a decision, rather than just read?

      Thanks also for the book recommendations, I have a couple of Ruth Colvin Clark books so I’ll definately look into the one you’ve recommended as well.

  5. Cindy Kabacinski

    May 9, 2014 at 2:07 pm

    I like the approach you took. Very creative, yet simple — making it inviting to the user. Thanks for sharing your thought process. Being new to instrucitonal design, I am always interested to see what others are doing and how they approach a challenge.

    • learningsnippets

      May 10, 2014 at 7:59 am

      Thanks for commenting Cindy. While it can be a bit scary sharing how you’ve done something, I find a lot of value in it. I find I learn a lot from others who share their processes and it helps to answer the question “How did they come up with that?” which is a question that springs to mind when I see a good piece of eLearning. If your interested, Jane Bozarth has just released a book called Show Your Work that is all about this kind of sharing.


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