The Rapid Elearning Blog

Archive for May, 2021


e-learning branding

When I worked at this one place, we could only use a single PowerPoint slide for any presentation or anytime we created content in PowerPoint. There was nothing particularly special about the slide other than the fact it was the approved slide because it had the company logo and colors plastered all over it.

This became an issue when we transitioned to one of the early rapid e-learning applications. Since the courses started in PowerPoint, the branding was on every slide and took up limited screen space that we needed to actually teach people.

However, what we lacked in a great learning experience was made up covered by the fact that all employees knew where they worked.

A constant challenge with courses is how to deal with the organization’s visual identity and various branding requirements which usually have little to do with learning.

So, here are a few questions I’d like to pose for discussion:

  • Do you really need to brand your courses?
  • How does it contribute to the learning experience?
  • Does it help meet any learning objectives?
  • If there was no branding requirement, how would it change the course?
  • Should it be a requirement that even in live training sessions, the marketing team inserts a sign twirler who screams out the name of the company every few minutes?

I’ve built plenty of courses over the years and have spent more than enough hours with clients and marketing team. So, I know many of the reasons we have for adding the brand content to our courses. I just wonder if it really matters and what value it adds.

What do you think?

 

Free E-Learning Resources

Want to learn more? Check out these articles and free resources in the community.

Here’s a great job board for e-learning, instructional design, and training jobs

Participate in the weekly e-learning challenges to sharpen your skills

Get your free PowerPoint templates and free graphics & stock images.

Lots of cool e-learning examples to check out and find inspiration.

Getting Started? This e-learning 101 series and the free e-books will help.

 




branded-e-learning-quote

One of the big challenges when building courses is having to deal with organization’s brand and visual identity and figuring out how to work it into the course. And to do it in a way so the course doesn’t look like a billboard or race car.

Here are some quick tips on how to incorporate the company’s brand into your courses without being overly intrusive on the learning objectives and actual course content.

Get Rid of the Branding

Before we get started, here’s a question worthy of debate: do you really need to brand your courses? What does it accomplish? Does it make a better learning experience? I understand the need for good looking design and meeting the organization’s need that way. But how does all of that branding fit into meeting the learning objectives (assuming there are some)?

I’ve built plenty of courses over the years and have spent more than enough hours with the customers and marketing folks. So I know all the reasons we have for adding the brand content to our courses. I just wonder if it really matters and what value it adds.

What do you think?

With that said here are a few ways to work your brand into the course that avoids some of the internal bickering and doesn’t get you fired. For this post, I’m going to use the E-learning Heroes community for my examples.

e-learning-community-1

Create a Landing Page

Instead of a course that features a logo and design on each screen, create a single-entry point that provides the branding info at the beginning of the course. After that, reserve the rest of the course for the learning part of the e-learning.

You can do this by creating a landing page or gate screen. The branding is offered upfront, and the rest of the course is mostly devoid of it.

  • Landing Pages. Do a search for landing pages to get some ideas on design and layout. And then build one for your organization. Use it at the beginning of all your courses.
  • Gate Screens. Build a gate screen. You can use one at the beginning or use them between sections or modules.

e-learning-screen-layouts-1

Above are some quick mockups based on the community page. I know a few companies that do this. I think it’s a workable solution because it adds the branding info that marketing and management requests. But it also reserves the rest of the screen space for the learning content and interactions.

Optimize the Player

Most e-learning courses include a player; and that player can be customized to some extent. What are the main brand elements for you to consider and how can they be incorporated into the player?

Generally, the visual part of the brand deals with some images like a logos and backgrounds, color schemes, typography, visual design, and screen layouts.

  • Incorporate the organization’s brand by colorizing the template to match the color schemes.
  • Leverage the logo or presenter panels for the company logo. Those can remain persistent which helps with the clients that want the logo on every screen.
  • Use the same (or similar fonts). Few corporate fonts are standard system fonts. Ask for the “official” font or try to find a similar one using What the Font. Often you can find comparable fonts that are free via Google Web Fonts. Most people won’t notice the subtle difference. And if they do, just tell them you’re using the “official” font for e-learning courses.

Mimic the Organization’s Web Site

Changing player colors and adding logos is easy enough. The more challenging issue is capturing the right visual design, especially if the organization’s made an investment to project a specific look and feel for the brand. And this is critical if what you build is presented outside the organization.

Ideally, you get the organization to help you brand the courses. But the reality is most of us won’t get access to a graphic designer to help. Considering this, here are a few ways you can glean the organization’s branding from the web site where they did hire a graphic designer.

  • Buttons are common. Each site has some sort of button or tab. Recreate those by copying their different states such as normal, hover, down, and selected.

buttons

  • Identify a few core screen layouts based on the web site. Make note of the way the items are arranged, especially things like white space and margins.
  • Look for potential content holders. I look for those individual elements like boxes and side panels that could become content holders or interactive items.
  • Where are the interactive elements? There are three things we do to interact with the screen: click, hover, and drag. How are those used in the website? Try to recreate them in your e-learning application. And if there aren’t interactive elements, what can you make interactive? For example, instead of static box, it has a hover state when moused over.
  • Colors are key. The company website already has an official brand. Mimic the general layout and use the correct colors. Here’s a more detailed post on how you can color pick colors or upload a screenshot of the site and have one of those color scheming sites pick colors for you.

sample-color-palette

If you need to brand your courses, these three suggestions should help. Start simple with a landing page and work your brand into the player and course screens by mimicking the organization’s web site and color schemes.

What do you do to incorporate the company’s brand into your courses?

 

Free E-Learning Resources

Want to learn more? Check out these articles and free resources in the community.

Here’s a great job board for e-learning, instructional design, and training jobs

Participate in the weekly e-learning challenges to sharpen your skills

Get your free PowerPoint templates and free graphics & stock images.

Lots of cool e-learning examples to check out and find inspiration.

Getting Started? This e-learning 101 series and the free e-books will help.

 




e-learning mistake

A lot of e-learning is compliance-based and often how it has to be delivered is a bit rigid. I’ve heard plenty of examples where some compliance training requires X number of seat hours to certify the completion of the training.

This is ridiculous because the seat hours are completely disconnected from whether the learner demonstrates any semblance of understanding. But, like I said, that’s not going to change. And as an e-learning developer, you’re stuck.

Outside of compliance training, another large chunk is what I like to call regurgitative training. That’s where we repackage content that’s already available in some sort of digital format.

Policy training is a common type. The policies already exist online. We copy and paste the policies over a series of slides. Make the slides pretty. And then add a quiz.

Or, perhaps we need some ergonomics training; so, we copy and paste the ergonomics information that’s already available to the end user. We add some ergonomic pictures. Maybe get one of those cute comic-style animation makers so Susan can tell her cubicle mate Jack about her bad back, and then Terri the ergonomics person can pop in and tell Susan and Jack about ergonomics with almost Disney-like skill.

Maybe it’s time we rethink this approach to training for content that already exists. Here’s one idea:

  • The goal is for the person to use the content to make decisions or do things a certain way.
  • Instead of copying and pasting content that already exists in one digital format into another, focus on how to find and use the content.
  • Provide some instruction on what content is available, where it can be found, and why it exists.
  • For the assessment, skip the simple multiple choice quiz questions. Instead, create a series of quick decision-making scenarios that requires the person to locate the appropriate content to make the right decisions.

Some benefits to this type of approach are:

  • When content changes you don’t need to update the entire training program because the courses aren’t focused on specific content. Instead, they’re focused on where the content exists.
  • You’re teaching people to be resourceful and understand what’s available to help them do their jobs.
  • You also don’t need to cover every piece of information (which is a challenge when working with subject matter experts). All that information is freely available at the resource site.

How much of you e-learning courses already exist as content elsewhere? How do you approach these types of “training” requests?

 

Free E-Learning Resources

Want to learn more? Check out these articles and free resources in the community.

Here’s a great job board for e-learning, instructional design, and training jobs

Participate in the weekly e-learning challenges to sharpen your skills

Get your free PowerPoint templates and free graphics & stock images.

Lots of cool e-learning examples to check out and find inspiration.

Getting Started? This e-learning 101 series and the free e-books will help.