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Get the picture: adding the right images to your e-learning content

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by Maresa Molloy, Instructional Designer at Aurion Learning

If a picture is worth a 1000 words, then it is important to ensure that you add the right pictures and images to improve your e-learning rather than distract from it. Simple – right? Well, actually yes.

This article contains tips and advice to ensure that you get the picture to maximise your e-learning environment.

Knowing your photos from your icons

There are three main types of images:

  1. Icons –They are multi-use clip-art type images such as, Important, Test Question, Review Point, or Key Fact. iconfinder has a good free range of icons to use.
  2. Graphics – a graphic is a designed image and are very specific. Graphics can be charts or graphs; they can be illustrations or word art.
  3. Photographs – Finding the right photo that portrays everything that you want and are trying to represent can be a powerful tool, however, these images can be hard to find, particularly if you are not a professional photographer! We have listed below an assortment of both paid for and free images that you can use:

Finding your images:

Firstly it is important to clarify that you can’t copy and upload images from google. If you don’t have a bank of images, you can find images on commercial sites such as shutterstock or iStockphoto.

If you would like to find free images, you can use the Creative Commons area on Flickr or stock.xchng. You can also use Compfight to help you search for photos that you can use. Remember to read the guidelines on proper attribution!

If you want to add your own text to the photo to illustrate a point you can use an online editing tool like PicMonkey or iPiccy.

Now that you have you images, it is important to remember the following:

Don’t over egg the pudding.

After you have spent hours pulling together the content for your e-learning environment, the last thing you want to do is to clutter the page with images. Equally, images should not be there to take up space. Take a moment before adding an image and ask ‘What is the purpose of this image? Ensure that it has relevance and reinforces what it is you are trying to get across.

Continuity

It is important that your images work with the content of your e-learning programme making it easier for participants to focus and don’t serve as a distraction. It is also worth noting that the images also need to work with each other.

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