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:
- 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.
- Graphics – a graphic is a designed image and are very specific. Graphics can be charts or graphs; they can be illustrations or word art.
- 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:
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!
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.
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.
In summer 2011, Aurion Learning hosted an e-learning masterclass in Dublin. Delegates came from the Irish Health Services Executive (national health service), health agencies, hospitals, and pharmaceutical companies from across Ireland, and included human resources, IT and training professionals. They all had one thing in common – responsibility for delivering learning and development across their organisations. Several delegates were already experienced in delivering e-learning and blended learning projects, while others hadn’t yet started the journey of online learning.
During the event, we wanted to get a better understanding of the challenges learning and development professionals in the health sector are facing today and so we carried out some market research with our delegates.
Here are our findings:
What is the biggest learning & development challenge facing your organisation today?
- Lack of funding /resources/manpower
- Lack of time to develop training
- Securing management commitment
- Learners not being given enough time to actually participate in training
- Lack of structured training / continuing professional development
- Identify what we want to do and can do – moving from strategy to implementation
- Responding to learning needs with small training budgets
- Achieving relevance
- Adopting a coherent coordinated approach across a large organisation – multiple departments & contacting trainees.
- Speed of delivery
- Lack of confidence/competence in use of e-learning
Getting others on-board / Culture change
- Changing the organisational culture into a learning culture
- Securing buy-in from management & staff to blended and e-learning programmes
- Low staff motivation
- Resistance to change (moving from traditional face-to-face model to e-learning)
- Knowing which technology to choose to support learning (learning management systems, e-learning authoring tools, learning portals etc.)
- IT support
- Staff access to IT systems and technologies (restriction to many educational websites/firewalls)
- Administration support & maintenance of any systems developed.