Design is an important element of learning, even more so after the Internet became an everyday tool for social activities as well as learning. At one time, a website with moving parts, beautiful images and interactivity was a novelty. Now it is expected.
We live and learn in a highly visual way. Images, movement, color, etc. entice us to read or help us to understand what we have read. Design used different ways facilitates learning by presenting material in a way that applies the most appropriate learning strategy to a concept or skill.
Navigation – Design helps to identify where the learner is in a program. A common color, symbol, word placement, etc., helps keep the learner on track, understanding where they are and where they need to go.
Tone – The overall color scheme sets a tone or learning environment. Bright, primary colors makes things look fun and easy. People move and react quickly expecting something interactive. Subdued colors make the materials look serious and more reflective hence people progress at a slower pace expecting to do more reading than hands on interactive activities.
Visual Identity – The design gives the program a unique identity, like branding. When learners log in, they immediately understand that this is your program and they expect a certain quality in the materials.
Learner Interest – Every generation of learners has a unique popular culture that speaks to their interests, learning styles, and current events. Design is the learners first hint that the materials are what they are interested in and address what their generation wants to hear and see. We are not here in education to entertain, but we are here to engage.