It’s personal

The challenge facing instructional designers is always to think of new ways to make our learning courses interesting, engaging and effective. We look at how we can make the best course possible by focusing on the technologies, design, graphics, content and writing style, but what about thinking about a course’s personality?

Elsewhere we see exciting, coherent characters achieving great things – from the memorable classroom trainer who relates the content to their personal past experiences, to Lady Gaga, who has created an intriguing stage persona which she continues in interviews and when dining out.

The first way to give an e-learning course personality that springs to mind is the inclusion of a course guide. This course guide should be carefully selected – whether it is an employee or an actor, it should be pitched correctly. Your guide should be believable and representative of the client company, but should also have character; a suitable voiceover can help to enhance this. After all, what’s more engaging – a stony faced guide standing with their arms by their sides, or a smiling course character gesturing towards something on the screen?

However, a course guide is not essential! There are a number of other ways to give a course personality, such as including distinctive hand drawn illustrations and choosing an unusual font and writing style. In this way you can design a course which will establish a rapport with the learner, and has the potential to surprise them. Once you have constructed your course’s personality and established the bones of it, the same persona should be continued to each small part of the course, including how it is communicated and marketed to its end users.

To make sure that it works, all the components should be consistent, as any contradictions will detract from the personality you have created. By ensuring that each part of a course is both distinctive and coherent, you can establish an engaging and memorable personality for your course.

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About the author

Catherine Blanchard - Instructional Designer

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