E-Learning Online Courses - Using Fonts Effectively
May 16, 2010 E-Learning/CALL 2564 Views
The way a course for e-learning online looks affects how well content is communicated to the learners. The reality is that looks do matter, even in education because as a whole, students tend to equate a badly designed or unprofessional looking course to something that is not worth taking. The implication is that it is highly likely students won't be interested enough to take the time to listen and pay attention, let alone learn effectively. This calls for the need to pay close attention even to little details such as choice of pictures and even fonts.
Fonts are important visual design elements that have the power to grab audience members on a deeper level and at the same time reinforce the message being communicated. However, unlike other elements like pictures and clip arts, stylized fonts are harder to replicate for and integrate into course designs. Another difficult thing about fonts is that sometimes higher-ups tend to lean towards traditional, pre-approved templates and styles. This makes it harder for instructional designers to add personality to the course and grab the attention of learners without breaking any rules. To apply fonts in a course for e-learning online, it is important to remember to set the tone well, find the right font with the right personality and audition chosen fonts before committing to or finalizing a design.
Right Tone - The right tone will help create a course that connects with learners on an emotional level. More often than not, breaking style rules are overlooked if font selections are used in a proper tone of delivery. To do this, the designer must think of it as a graphic element that must be used strategically. To determine the kind of tone that's most appropriate for the audience, it is advisable to get to know the learners.
Right Personality - Believe it or not, fonts have personalities that should be critically considered before utilizing them for certain projects. Font designs are made to have distinctive or unique characteristics that greatly impact how learners perceive the tone of the course. It is therefore imperative to be mindful of these characteristics and how they are used. For example, Comic Sans is described to be whimsical in appearance because of its rounded edges and casual feel. This makes it a good choice for thought bubbles or passages that emulate handwriting.
Font Audition - It is highly likely that the learners think and perceive things differently from the instructional designer. A font may seem effective in the eyes of the one who designed the course, but it may turn out otherwise for the audience. This is why it is important to "audition" the fonts of choice. Trying out the fonts can help gauge readability and personality fit.
In the end, all a person has to do to use fonts well and design effective e-learning online courses it to keep things fresh or contemporary and consistent in terms of look and feel. Examples by which you can accomplish this are by allowing yourself to be inspired by your audience, getting the opinion of others, learning about visual design elements, determining how fonts and other elements should be used, checking for consistency during the designing process, and maintaining excellence and visual quality.