5 tips to glow up your learning journey

13 March, 2024| Puck Onnekes & Markus Schmidt| 6 min read

It's 2024, and while the wonders of the digital age allow for spectacular visuals and AI-powered marvels, our learning journeys can be somewhat... well, old-fashioned. But no worries, we are here to help you!

We have combined our strengths and came up with five practical tips to glow up your learning journey. We’ll explain why these tips help people learn and how you can quickly apply them on the aNewSpring platform. Throughout the article, you’ll also find some very helpful resources to make your learning journeys pop.

Tip #1

Focus attention

Remember the excitement of going to a candy store as a kid, surrounded by a rainbow of colours and a mix of enticing scents? The experience was fun but at the same time overwhelming. The same goes for trying to absorb information without any visual guidance.

This is where the signaling principle of Mayer comes in. The technique involves highlighting crucial information, to direct learners’ focus. By emphasising with colours, blocks and bold or cursive text, it screams: “I’m important! Read me!” However, avoid underlined text, as it tends to have the opposite effect.

Structuring information is another way to make use of the signaling principle. Headers and subheaders act as guides, helping learners understand relationships between pieces of information and their connection to the main subject. An extra plus is that it also helps them find specific information more easily.

Using the signaling principle in aNewSpring

Look no further than the Look & feel editor! Access the advanced editor, navigate to Content parts, and use the editor to create headings and subheadings. Scroll down to Colour palette to create a palette for content parts and questions. This includes text and background colours. Add at least black and white text. Trust us, they always come in handy. And don’t forget to click update when you’re done!

Tip #2

Pay attention to consistency

It’s safe to say that everyone reading this frequently visits YouTube. A very frustrating experience is when YouTube unexpectedly alters its layout. All of a sudden we have to look for the right button to save that cute cat video. Humans like consistency and we easily develop habits to navigate websites. We want predictability, a sense of familiarity and the comfort of navigating mindlessly. The same goes for learning journeys.

An important part of building a learning journey is prioritising user experience. Put yourself in the shoes of your target audience:

  1. How can I help them to easily navigate the learning journey?

  2. What are they already used to?

  3. What do they expect from an online learning journey?

Creating a seamless journey results in more positive experiences and it can even result in more impactful learning. Ignoring user experience can leave users feeling uncertain and disoriented. User experience encompasses various elements. Consistency is a fundamental and relatively straightforward method to enhance the user experience!

If you want to make your learning journey more consistent, consider:

  • establishing a colour palette (use two accent colours, as explained in the next tip)

  • set standardised fonts and headings

  • maintain a consistent layout

  • consistency in the use of images (use the same style of illustrations for instance)

Applying consistency in aNewSpring

In the first tip, we explained how you can set colours and headers. You can use the rest of the advanced Look & feel editor to create one that uses your colour palette. aNewSpring has already created a layout with set elements for you. The only thing you need to do is keep consistency in mind within content parts. For instance, where you place text, images and text blocks.

Tip #3

Don’t forget the eye candy

As learning designers, we generally agree on one thing: We incorporate visual elements into learning journeys when they contribute meaningfully to the contents of the learning journey. This perspective holds true, but we want to broaden this perspective.

In Dutch, there’s a saying: the eye wants something too. It means that we appreciate things that are visually pleasing. This eye candy proves invaluable in online learning journeys. Simple changes like incorporating two accent colours and using atmospheric images can impact how we absorb information. Even if these visuals don’t contribute to the learning contents, they enhance the overall user experience. And that is just as important.

Making it pop in aNewSpring

  • Find images that fit well with your target audience and use them in your content parts to create recognition and a welcoming atmosphere.

  • Use a colour palette with two accent colours.

  • Use extras like icons. For instance, an icon of a clock will indicate you’re telling about the time it takes to finish a learning journey. Much better than spelling it out!

Tip #4

Think outside the blocks…

So far, we have mostly focused on how to use the Look & feel to your advantage and how to enhance content parts. But if you really want to glow up your learning journey, you have to look outside the (content) blocks too. The first interaction that learners have with the learning journey is often through an overview - giving a crucial first impression that we shouldn’t underestimate. What you can do to enhance the appeal of the overview depends on the platform you’re using.

Spicing up your overview in aNewSpring

Let’s start with a fundamental principle: Make it anything but boring! Move away from white backgrounds, blocks and widgets, using only black text. Work with a palette and experiment with the use of different colours for different elements. Consider elements that you can change to make the overview more interesting, like icons for your activities, background photos and bold headers. And don’t forget documents and certificates! It’s a bummer when you’re working on a beautiful learning journey, but then receive a lacklustre certificate at the end.

User experience comes into play in the overview as well, like how you organise your information and documents. Utilise widgets to offer extra documentation or highlight information that’s important during the entire learning journey. You also have to think about how to organise your blocks and activities, so learners understand the structure of the learning journey and can easily find specific elements.

Tip #5

...and beyond

Okay, that was all for the learning journey itself. But we’re not quite finished yet. Just as the overview impacts the absorption of the learning journey, the entire platform plays a crucial role as well. The very first time learners interact with the platform (usually through the login page), they will already start to form an opinion that sets the tone for the overall experience. Repeating some earlier mentioned principles, think about:

  • the Look & feel of the overall platform

  • how learners navigate the platform

  • where they can find learning journeys and whether it’s easy to find the specific one they’re looking for

However, there’s one thing we haven’t mentioned yet: WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines). These guidelines are developed by organisations and individuals all over the world, aiming to make online content more accessible for everyone. Although challenging sometimes, following the guidelines can be highly rewarding. For instance, is the font readable for learners with dyslexia? Can your graphics be understood by those with colour blindness? Keeping WCAG in mind will increase the user experience for everyone involved.

Enhancing user experience in aNewSpring

We’ve already touched upon the principles mentioned above, so let’s focus on WCAG. Fortunately we’ve been working on WCAG for a while and will continue to integrate the guidelines in the platform. So, the only thing left for you to do is keep WCAG in mind while creating your own content!

Ready to start glowing?

Are you ready to glow up your learning journey? Check out all the resources in this article and don’t forget to follow our Academy course on Look & feels to help you implement the tips in aNewSpring specifically.

Enjoyer of the little things Training Improvement Engineer

Puck Onnekes

Is excited to help people learn and will use her head and heart to do it in the best way.

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