Magically Transform Your Instructor-Led Training Using Creative Visual Design
Suresh Kumar DN
The way you use visuals, layouts, color, and font in your Instructor-Led Training (ILT) and Virtual ILT (VILT) has the potential to attract and engage your learners.
Visual Design For Instructor-Led Training
When we open our daily newspaper, the day’s headlines catch our eyes. Then, we skim the pictures, identifying the report that we want to read first. As we go through the newspaper, we hardly notice how an artistic balance of headlines, pictures, content keeps us engaged to read the day’s news! Similarly, in any Instructor-Led Training or VILT, the look and feel of the course material plays an important part in keeping the learners interested in the training.
The Importance Of Visual Design
You may argue that in a training, the content is the king. However, studies have shown that both content and visuals must be given equal importance when designing a training. Research shows that a learner is able to retain the learning better when the learner desires to learn. In courseware design, a good design is one that draws the learner’s interest, then urges the learner to continue the learning, and finally makes them believe their time was worth spending on the learning.
The Scope Of Visual Design In Instructor-Led Training And VILT
Traditionally, Instructor-Led Trainings and to a certain extent, VILTs, use PowerPoint slides as an aid for the training. Everyone understands that a session wherein the facilitator or trainer simply reads from the PowerPoint slides is doomed to fail. Learners will disengage; some may even sleep! However, relying on the built-in layout templates of PowerPoint or simply adding more images on your slides will not also help!Have you been using the standard PowerPoint rectangular layout with bullet text or text on the left side and a visual on the right? Have you used visual branding cues such as the company logo, name, color bands within the Master Slide of the presentation? If yes, then you have NOT harnessed the true potential of visual design!You need to break away from your blinkered approach that visual design is limited to options that PowerPoint presents. For example, did you know that you can reinforce key concepts by using font color and style to emphasize the text? Or that by giving photographs in black and white, you can actually bring about a unifying tone and style to tie all slides together?There is a huge scope for visual design in Instructor-Led Trainings and VILTs. Visual design for Instructor-Led Training and VILTs need to be carefully planned to aid the learning.
How Can Visual Design Improve Instructor-Led Training And VILT Deliverables?
1. Instructor-Led Trainings, especially VILTs that bring together learners from different locations, need to give key concepts in small installments. There should be little text, preferably the most important concept on the slide, supplemented by a relevant visual. Remember, the slide should be like the placard that the instructor uses to attract the learners. Once the learners are interested, the session being instructor-led needs to move into the interaction of the learners with the instructor. Neither should your learners have to read the text on the slide while the instructor is speaking nor should your instructor have to read from the slide.2. The training must engage the learners every 5 minutes. You can use polls, small quizzes, chats, remote labs, video conferencing, break-away rooms, and so on to ensure you bring your learners into the training. The visual design must have corresponding slides so that the learners will know what is expected of them by way of engagement. Most often, to reduce the development costs, you may be tempted to weave in activities in the instructor notes. However, in the absence of a corresponding slide in the presentation, learners may not be completely aware that they need to participate in an activity and what exactly they need to do. Having a standard slide that specifies the activity type, duration, and a brief description will ensure your learners actively participate in the proceedings. These slides allow you to add some extra value to your learning. For example, you can include motivational quotes on a standard activity slide to inspire the learners.3. You must realize that in an Instructor-Led Training or VILT, the temptation for the learners to tune out is ever present. You need impressive, engaging activities for your learners. One way to ensure this is to have attractive handouts and job aids that are printed and distributed to the learners. These printouts can present the key concepts in the form of infographics or pictorial forms and aid in reinforcing the learning. Being visually attractive will ensure that the learners love to pin the handouts near their workstations, which will help in transferring the knowledge acquired through the training on the job.
10 Tips For Effective Visual Design1. Have A Good Text-Image Ratio
A standard 50-50, 70-30, or 30-70 ratio may be a good starting point, but you need to get creative and experiment with text-image ratios to find a right balance. Sometimes, the text may itself be important, for example, the clause of a law, and needs to be given prominence on the slide. At other times, the visual may be able to explain the concept better, for example, a process chart is much better than a step list! In both cases, the standard text-image ratios may not be appropriate.
2. Use White Space/Minimal Text To Highlight Images
A picture is worth a thousand words. Harness the power of a strong visual by giving it center stage. Consider the example.
3. Get Bold With A Dark Background
Traditional design principles call for light background color that makes it easy for black font color to be readable. However, providing dark and bold background color and yet providing ease of readability of text, you can create a distinctive, stunning design.
4. Identify A Theme That Goes With The Subject Of The Training
An Instructor-Led Training or VILT meant for senior business professionals can have a minimalistic layout with stock photographs of business professionals. You must take care to identify the right kind of photographs though. A training that showcases the history of the sales growth of a product, you can use a vibrant theme that highlights the product. Consider these examples.
5. Custom-Build The Layout To Make The Training More Relevant To The Learners
When you have the option to shoot photographs within your office premises, do so and include photographs and visual elements in the training. You can have your employees don on mentor avatars on the slides or have an office background to your scenario-based quizzes on the training. Consider the example.
6. When Using Photographs, Place Images With White Background Or Cut Out The Images
This gives the image sort of a blended with text effect, especially, if you blur the edges a bit also.
7. Choose Your Font And Color Carefully
Use orange to stimulate your learners’ minds, red to capture their attention and to signal urgency, and so on. Putting key terms in red color font tells the learners of their importance.Similarly, elegant fonts indicate a level of sophistication and modern fonts reflect professionalism.
8. Place The Most Important Element On A Slide At The Top And Make It Stand Out From The Other Elements
What the learner sees at first is what registers as the most important. So, your visual design must make use of this fact.
9. Use Icons And Illustrations Instead Of Stock Photographs
You can consider using icons and illustrations as the overall theme for visuals to give the learning a simplistic look and feel. These are most suited when the subject is complex, for example, data security, and it would be hard to find suitable stock photographs.
10. Final Tip: Ensure Your Visual Design Does Not Clutter Or Pose Any Distraction To The Learners
The visual design must aid content and facilitate learning. In the name of creativity and distinctiveness, you should not end up adding unnecessary elements. Neither the visuals nor the font should steal the show, so as to speak.
The visual design may seem like all jazz and fun, but there are important decisions to be made behind a creative visual design. How much visual design is really required for your training? How much will the creative visual design impact the cost and time of developing the training? What if there is no consensus among the various stakeholders on the visual design proposals? Who can guide you in making the right visual design choices?At Tesseract Learning, our ID strategists work closely with creative designers right from the start of a project to bring you the best possible solution.To learn more about how we are helping with impressive Instructor-Led Training and VILT material,do reach out to me by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org with your feedback and suggestion.