How to Design a Custom Theme for an E-Learning Course

An  e-learning course requires many decisions to design its look and feel. You need to consider graphic objects and elements, fonts, images, and colours.  David Anderson, over at the E-Learning Heroes community blog, shares how to use a mind map template to identify design elements. On his mind map, he also includes sources of inspiration such as magazines , related industries, media, and metaphors.

Here’s the mind map David created for an automotive e-learning course:

Mind map_automotive course

The first step in creating a mind map is to brainstorm ideas for each category. To work through this process, let’s create a mind map for a free online course Tobacco and Public Health. I’ll start by listing ideas under these sources of inspiration:

Websites

Related topics and industries

  • Cancer
  • Addiction
  • Cigarette industry

Media (movies)

  • The Insider
  • Thank you for Smoking

Metaphors, analogies and antonyms

  • Cold turkey
  • breathing easily
  • pollution

Now that I have some references, I can use them to pull ideas for my design elements:

Objects

  • tobacco leaves, plant
  • cigarettes
  • smoke
  • cigarette package
  • lungs
  • ash tray
  • pipe
  • warning label
  • lighter, matches

Images

  • people smoking
  • health care practioners
  • accupunture
  • nicotine patch
  • hypnotist

Fonts

  • Grunge
  • Distressed

Colours

  • browns
  • greens
  • red

After completing the mind map, I can use the key words to search for images to use for my course. Using this process is a great way to pull together elements for a custom design.

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