Best PracticesDesign and Production Process

How and Why to Develop a Graphics Toolkit for e-Learning

A graphics toolkit will save you time and add consistency to your course

A graphics toolkit is a repository of graphics that can be re-used throughout your courses. It contains common graphic elements that make course development simpler and enables learners to focus on course content.

Why develop a Graphics Toolkit?

There are 4 main reasons to develop a graphic toolkit:

  1. Simplifies future course development - A graphic toolkit serves as a foundation for all future courses, saving a lot of design and development time. Just keep adding to the toolkit as new features are needed.To start a graphics toolkit, review several past or current courses to see what common features you continually use such as:
  • Navigation buttons
  • Headers/Footers
  • More Info buttons
  • Knowledge checks
  • Icons
  • Cutouts of people
  • Backgrounds
  • Page layouts
  • Chart formats
  • Video testimonials
  • Call to Action graphics
  • Pop-up info boxes

Develop these graphics so that they can be re-used throughout any course. Make sure that they will work responsively, regardless of the device or orientation. This means create them to be resizable to account for not only responsive environments, but different amounts of text they might contain. For these types of graphics, vector-based images are better than bitmap. If you have to use bitmap, make the reusable item very large. The best choice can sometimes be to create reusable shapes inside your eLearning software which will translate the graphic to css-styled html or SVG.

  1. Improves usability - To make your courses more user friendly, keep your graphics and navigation consistent from course to course in both placement and design. Consistency makes programs easier for participants to use; they know how to navigate and where to look for specific content. This makes learners more comfortable and allows them to focus on learning, rather than navigating.
  2. Saves production time – Do you have stock images that you reuse often, yet you always have to figure out where they are? Work more efficiently and save time by renaming stock files appropriately, rather than the stock house numerical filename.Organize files in folders, sorting them by project or subject (or both) so you can easily locate them in the future. In some eLearning software, graphics can be stored in libraries and shared across projects. It can be good practice to create a starter template file that includes all reusable graphic in the library. Before publishing, you can delete unused items.
  3. Provides a familiar, branded look - All company communication should look and feel the same to maintain brand integrity. From using the same fonts and spacing throughout each page to using the official color schemes, icon design and logo usage will provide brand continuity throughout your courses and provide your participants with familiarity.

Conclusion:

Having a reusable graphics toolkit will make your work easier and help you complete projects faster. Your course participants will also appreciate the added benefit of ease of use.

To keep your toolkit fresh and valuable, continue to add new elements to it as new projects are undertaken with new re-usable resources.

Ron Trilling
Author of Learning Lines | Founder and Partner, at Media Dynamics
Ron is a great source of information when it comes to eLearning. He has a background in instructional design and has worked with many companies to help develop their eLearning content and courses.
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