How (And Why) Visual Design Matters In e-Learning

The use of visual, engaging content is a regular topic around these parts, isn’t it. Getting your students interested and keeping them engaged is a challenge for every teacher in every subject and at every age level. That said, when you’re putting together your class materials, do you give a ton of thought to how things look? The answer is probably yes – with an overwhelming answer being that obviously, content matters more.

That said, the handy infographic below proposes using the laws of visual perception -aka the Gestalt principles – in e-learning design. Even if you’re not an artist, design shouldn’t be overlooked. Content may be king, but if it isn’t pleasant to look at, eyes will drift away much more quickly.

Gestalt Principles

  • Gestalt is a school of thought in psychology that hinges on the principle that the mind forms a unified whole when organizing visual elements
  • There are four main ‘laws’ of grouping in Gestalt theory:
  • Similarity
  • Proximity
  • Simplicity
  • Closure

Applications in e-Learning Design

When you’re designing e-learning materials, consider integrating the above principles:

  • Similarity: Group similar elements together
  • Proximity: Elements placed in close proximity to one another will often be perceived to be a group, or related
  • Simplicity: The mind wants the simplest solution to any problem- don’t muck things up with irrelevant stuff.  Use only what is important and relevant!
  • Closure: The mind will draw conclusions not only based on what is there, but on what isn’t. Especially when using graphics, remember that a single, recognizable pattern is what will be visible first!

visual perception elearning design