Jul 192011
 

Instructional Design: Beginning Instructional Authoring: Why C.R.A.P. Is Exactly What’s Needed (Part 1)

Instructional Design: By Patti Shank, July 12, 2011, via Learning Solutions Magazine
“The purpose behind these instructional design principles is to make what people see in front of them aesthetically pleasing. That may seem like a bunch of mumbo jumbo but think of it this way … perception is reality. If learners think it looks bad, you may have lost a good percentage of the battle in getting them to pay attention.”

A lot of eLearning instructional design would look better if it looked like C.R.A.P. Really. No, I’m not making a scatological reference – I mean the four overarching principles of visual design: Contrast, Repetition, Alignment, and Proximity.

People form opinions about what they see very quickly, and that goes for eLearning visual design as well. If your eLearning looks like something that belongs on a pathology slide, consider using the C.R.A.P. principles to help learners form a better opinion of your eLearning.

Robin Williams described these four visual design principles in her terrific book, The Non-Designer’s Design Book. After discussing alignment in last month’s article, I received a few e-mails asking me to explain these principles and how they relate to eLearning screens. Yep, I can take direction, and that’s a good idea.

It’s important to note that I’m not a visual designer by training. I’ve just learned over time that it’s critical, and have taken the time to learn a lot (especially from visual designers), read a lot, and make it my business to learn more and more. I’m an instructional designer, so my explanations in this article are trainer- or instructional designer-oriented. If you’re a graphic designer and want to add to these explanations, please feel free to comment and link in the comments area following the article!

The purpose behind these design principles is to make what people see in front of them aesthetically pleasing. That may seem like a bunch of mumbo jumbo but think of it this way … perception is reality. If learners think it looks bad, you may have lost a good percentage of the battle in getting them to pay attention. It may not seem fair but that’s reality.

This month I’ll discuss the first two elements, Contrast and Repetition. Next month I’ll talk about Alignment and Proximity. Remember though, the four elements work together, so next month I’ll also tie them together (so y’all come back!).

instructional design

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