UX design for e-learning is essential. It can be your key to unlocking a great experience for the learners. UX design for e-learning has many similarities with designing other digital products. It includes user research methods, prototyping, and usability testing. At the same time, UX for e-learning has specific requirements. That is what we will mainly focus on in this article. We will provide design examples of the “National AI course” for all Dutch people that we have designed for Elephant Road.
What is UX design?
User experience design is the process of enhancing user satisfaction with a product by improving the usability, accessibility, and desirability provided in the interaction with a product.
In other words, UX design is the process of designing (digital or physical) products that are useful, easy to use, and delightful to interact with. It’s about enhancing the experience that people have while interacting with your product, and making sure they find value in what you’re providing.
Features of UX design for e-learning
The main purpose of UX for e-learning is to make it easy to navigate through the learning process and allow the students to fully concentrate on the content. As the pace of life influences when and how we learn we should adopt these changes. Interface design for e-learning involves creating a helpful learning environment. The fundamental idea is that the interface and all its components act to stimulate the learning process.
The most necessary thing is to design a clean interface and make it easier for students to concentrate on the learning process. The phrase “Content is king” is totally true for e-courses. UX for e-learning should exclude any unnecessary buttons, links, ads, forms, and so on. For example, a simple feature like collapsible sidebars can make for distraction-free reading.
Attractive and obvious main page
A well-designed landing page becomes an important initiator and a starting point for browsing. It should attract the student to be interested in the course, give a good explanation of what the course is about and also make it possible to reach all the menu buttons and features.
In our case, the client asked for an attractive and bold design. The main page includes the title of the course, its description, call-to-action to start the preview track of this course, and the overview of all 7 modules of this course with titles and short descriptions.
Navigation is a very important aspect of designing for eLearning. It should be as simple as possible to navigate between the lessons. The quick navigation reduces user effort and improves the user’s experience.
Structuring the content as a logical story will certainly help with keeping on the learning curve. The task of UX designer is to make switching from one lesson to another very smoothly. You also should make it easy to come back to the previous lessons. At the same time, students should have the freedom to choose which lesson or topic to watch. More experienced students will probably watch just selected lessons that are valuable to them.
In our illustration, a student can choose any module from the main page. Finished modules are marked with a star in the upper right corner and a “Finished” status. Topics that have been started but not finished yet indicate how many minutes there are still left to watch; they have call-to-action buttons to continue. Lessons that have not been started yet have just a “Start” button.
Give Clear Directions (Calls to Action)
The simplified navigation gave students the direction of the course, so they can move through smoothly. But what about the actions you expect them to perform? To ensure the execution of these actions, create clear call-to-action. With this approach learners always know what they should do.
The example above clearly shows what is next and how long that track will take. There are no unnecessary elements on this page. The student is “rewarded” for completing the previous track. The large button is designed to persuade the student to continue.
Learning requires focus. User-friendly UI plays an important role in e-learning as it is created to keep the positive vibe of learning and being simple and clear enough to help students to concentrate on the content. Don’t forget about the emotional aspect! In our case, we use eye-catching, affective images and bright visible titles to grab the learner’s attention.
Different material types
With the aim of keeping the learning process interesting and engaging include different types of content (text, video, images, tests) and visuals (pictures, diagrams, photos, animation).
A progress bar is a graphical control element used to visualize the progression of extended computer operation. For e-learning, a progress bar can show the current student's position and how far he still needs to go in a certain lesson, topic, or the whole course. Sometimes, the graphic is accompanied by a textual representation of the progress in a percent format.
The use of a progress bar keeps students motivated. They can see how close are they to reaching a certain goal. People like to progress from level to level. Progress bars keep students more engaged because it affects their ambitions.
Getting the rewards for the achievements of certain results during the learning curve is a good example of the design practice. These elements provide a feeling of achievement and satisfaction, making the experience more exciting. Some students share their progress and badges on social media, which turns to instant marketing for the course and the platform.
Our example here is a blue bar with the motivation sentence “Good answer!”
Easy access to the content
Provide the students with easy access to lessons, materials, and information they require. This can be done by creating a list of all attachments mentioned in the course, the option to search the lesson by topic or title, and enabling bookmarking the pages.
Consistency is the key to success. Being consistent in the platform structure, navigation, animation, button placement, and other items helps visitors to orientate easier on your e-learning platform.
Keep Space Free
Some clients may consider white space as wasted space. But it is important and should be used within context. Especially for e-learning platforms legibility and readability are important. This is created by good use of negative space and line spacing to create a visually balanced design.
White space also helps students process data more quickly and improves focus on particular sections of the UI. This is better than giving the learner pages fully packed with information.
Communication channels embedded in the course or connected to it, have an undeniable effect on learner experience. An opportunity to ask questions and discuss the topics with peers or teachers can significantly improve their experience.
On-the-go learning - be responsive
Mobile devices are a constant in the lives of most of us nowadays and we use them for many daily tasks, from checking the news to finding directions and posting pictures of what we had for lunch :). We live in a world where information is instantly accessible, anytime and anywhere. So why should the way we learn be any different? It’s important to understand that the learning process from a mobile device will differentiate from the one on a desktop. There are a few main factors you should keep in mind. First, the user will often be in a distracting environment, such as a transport or cafe. There the student could be easily disturbed by something or somebody. The practices such as dividing the material into shorter parts, auto-saving function and option to restart the lesson will be helpful. Second, keep in mind the smaller screen size, so make sure your material is user-friendly for a smaller environment, without disrupting the flow and consistency of the design.
The Importance of speed
Learners expect content to load quickly. The slow-loading page frustrates the learner and may cause their rejection. To provide a fast-loading page, check the size of the images and the amount of content on each page. Read our article for more recommendations on improving website speed.
We do not give certificates for reading this article, but we hope you have enjoyed it and got valuable knowledge and tips for the improvement of your UX for e-learning.