Content Marketing
5 Essential Visuals to Make Your Elearning Course More Engaging

5 Essential Visuals to Make Your Elearning Course More Engaging

August 22, 2018
4 min read

Creating an elearning course takes a ton of time and effort, but the payoff can be huge.

An elearning course is an opportunity to educate your audience about a topic related to your product and to position you/your business as thought leaders in your field. They can also be a significant revenue source.

That is, as long as your users find the course valuable.

The skeleton of your course should, of course, be the information you’re imparting on your users. But how you deliver that information to them is where it can get tricky.

After all, in order for people to get the full benefit of your course, they need to make it through all of the material. You need to keep them engaged with the content.


That’s where including plenty of visuals in your lessons can have a big impact on audience engagement. Not only will they provide visual variation, they can also make information easier to understand.

Here are 5 types of visuals you can use to make your course content more engaging.

1. Summary Infographics

Infographics are a great way to condense information and present it in an engaging way.

Long, in-depth forms of content are valuable, but it can also be helpful to present the information in a variety of ways. A concise infographic that summarizes the information will help make the key points more memorable.

For example, you could use an infographic at the beginning of a lesson to summarize the points you’ll be covering.

Or you could include an infographic at the end of a section or a lesson to summarize the most important points you covered.

Take a look at how this infographic from WordStream’s PPC University sums up 7 best practices for Google’s expanded text ads:


The type of infographic you create will depend on the information you want to visualize. This quick video guide summarizes the basic types of infographics you can create and when you should use them:

For example, a timeline infographic is great for visualizing a process, like a customer journey map:


Meanwhile, a comparison infographic will help you show two options side by side:


2. Simple Charts

It can be difficult for people to wrap their head around numbers. That’s where a chart can help.

For example, a simple mind map is great for showing how different ideas are connected, like in this mind map from HubSpot’s Social Media Certification course:









And a bubble chart can compare amounts:









As a rule of thumb, it should take no longer than 5 seconds for someone to read and understand the chart. That means that your charts should be clearly labelled. When in doubt, provide a brief description to contextualize the chart as well.

Also, if you’re including a chart in a video presentation, make sure that your audience will have enough time to read the chart. If you want to create a more complex chart with many data points, consider offering a downloadable version for your audience to reference later.

3. Process Graphics

Often, your elearning course will show your audience the steps for a process that they can apply to their own businesses. A visual aid will help make the steps in a process more memorable. They also make for handy quick reference sheets for people to keep after they’re done your course.

Here’s an example of a simple process graphic:


















Each step is numbered, with an icon to help make it more memorable.

Interactive elements will also help make your elearning materials more engaging. The elearning experts over at Tracorp suggests using interactive process graphics with a “click-to-reveal” function that populates information text boxes.

4. Photos and Illustrations

This may seem like an obvious one but it’s worth repeating. If there’s a concept that would benefit from being illustrated, then do it!

Now, that doesn’t mean just relying on stock photos. Even if you’re working within a small budget, you can still make your images more original using a few simple tricks.

If you do need to use stock photos, you can still customize them so they fit your brand. One easy way to do this is to use a color filter.

Or you can use icons to enhance stock photos. Not only can this make your images more creative, it can also make them relate more directly to your content.

Look at how the simple addition of a lightbulb icon helps the stock photo in this slide to reflect the content better:









Custom illustrations are one of this year’s biggest graphic design trends. You can also actually create your own illustrations using icons. Just arrange the icons on the page to create a scene.


5. Visual Checklists

A checklist is perfect for:

  • Listing key takeaways from a lesson
  • Listing next steps for your audience to take
  • Listing more resources your audience can check out

To make your checklists more engaging, try using visuals like icons to emphasize each point. You could literally use checkmark icons, or you could use icons that illustrate each point (or both!):





















You could also use a different colored background for each point on your list. For example, this visual checklist uses a color gradient to create a sense of progress as you move down your list.













An interactive checklist is another opportunity to make your course content more engaging. Make each point on your list clickable, so people can feel accomplished when they tick a point off.

Look for ways to visualize information

These are just some of the most common ways people visualize information in their elearning content. Depending on the information you’re communicating, there are a wide variety of different visuals you could use.

Try and look at your content from the perspective of your audience. Where do you think a visual would help make your information more clear? Are there any places would you could offer an example, or go into more detail?

Got any questions about creating visuals? Drop a line in the comments.

2 thoughts on “5 Essential Visuals to Make Your Elearning Course More Engaging

  1. Terry

    Great information and Great job at explaining the various infographics. Would you share your preferred software for creating infographics if you have one particular program.

  2. Michael Brenner

    Hi Terry! Thanks for your comments and feedback. I actually don’t use software for creating infographics. I would recommend using an experienced infographic designer.

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Michael Brenner

Michael Brenner is an international keynote speaker, author of "Mean People Suck" and "The Content Formula", and Founder of Marketing Insider Group. Recognized as a Top Content Marketing expert and Digital Marketing Leader, Michael leverages his experience from roles in sales and marketing for global brands like SAP and Nielsen, as well as his leadership in leading teams and driving growth for thriving startups. Today, Michael delivers empowering keynotes on marketing and leadership, and facilitates actionable workshops on content marketing strategy. Connect with Michael today.