Instructional Design

9 tips to Designing eLearning with Simplicity

“Keep it simple”! That’s the one phrase I hear ringing from the walls of our office all day long. I’ve been designing eLearning modules for a number of years and seen many trends come and go but none more so than the idea of keeping modules simple. My inbox is often overflowing with examples of eLearning modules where simplicity, fun and interactivity are completely missing.

So for all our friends sitting at organizations across the land I thought I’d propose we get back to basics and share some ideals for keeping things simple! I’ve written 9 so yours can be the tenth tip.


– The purpose of effective training is better performance. Learning should be focused on the needs of the learner.

– Good content isn’t good enough anymore, it has to be insanely great and flow from the simple to the complex using language without the fluff.

– Sentences should be short and not long-winded. Learners need to be kept engaged.

– Break up content into bullet points. Learning needs to be digestible.

– Remember your audience. Write for the benefit of the learner and you’ll increase your credibility.


– White space should regarded with respect and encouraged

– Simple graphics and pictures are more enticing and valuable than clutter

– You don’t need to use more than two colors or fonts

– Simplicity in image selection and creation is just as relevant to audio – the spoken word needs to be jargon free, not convoluted and accessible.

There is a tendency to get caught up in having a field day and using every tool available to us.  By all means have a field day with elearning tools…as long as you can answer “yes” to the following question: is this helping the learner engage and learn and thus perform better? Our tools should be used to ensure than we are reinforcing the learning content and thus impact positive performance.

What’s your number one tip for simplifying online learning?