The user experience (or UX) of a website or app is critical to keep users engaged and eager to interact with the content at hand. In the context of UX design for elearning, this is incredibly important, as better engagement equals better retention of information, and thus, leads to a successful elearning course. Here are 4 UX design trends for elearning in 2019, which will have a positive impact on user engagement.
UX Design trends in the context of eLearning in 2019 can include gamifying the learning experience. Gamification in elearning is rapidly emerging as an effective technique to enhance learning, using motivational elements and engaging design to do so. This trend of incorporating playful elements, such as presenting challenges in the form of games, or by using game elements like badges and points, motivates learners and increases friendly competition between them. As a result, this leads to successful elearning.
One innovative elearning example that makes use of gamification in its user interface is Duolingo, where players are able to achieve skill patches after completing certain levels and can propose challenges to friends to earn ‘Lingots’, the in-game currency. However, while it may be easy to get carried away with adding all sorts of gaming elements to your elearning design, it is important to ensure it is well thought out, well designed, and above all, relevant. Challenges and competition, rewards, like stars or badges can improve motivation and tap into the learner’s aspirations and introduce a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. However, finding your learners ‘true’ motivational drive can often provide the best success.
Much more UX designers are embracing that age-old idea that ‘less is more’ – the aim is simplicity, and it is common for elearning developers to strip down to only the material which the learner will need, and presenting it in a minimalistic manner. Uncluttered interfaces are key to a seamless, smooth user experience, and we are seeing increasingly more websites and apps with simple user interface designs which rely on a few bold colours, clean layouts, and open spaces, as opposed to distracting, busy designs using shadows and texture.
Keeping the user interface design light and simple allow the user to only see what they need, and when it is needed; and contribute to a seamless interaction flow, making the learner feel at ease and in control. Another minimalistic user interface design example is smoother transitioning. This means reducing the tension between taking an action and giving a response to it, for example, having smooth transitions between clicking the ‘next’ button and moving to the next slide of the course. While this may seem like a minor consideration, it is one that contributes to a better user experience overall.
UX Design trends for elearning in 2019 can also include microlearning, which refers to giving learners information in the form of small ‘bitesize’ chunks, delivering content in small, specific, and manageable bursts. This is a popular trend because it gives learners the autonomy to direct their own learning path, consuming content at their own pace. Microlearning in elearning can consist of easy to read layouts with small chunks of text, with a brief description about what is about to be learnt and how much time they need to invest in it.
Furthermore, UX design elements in elearning that also constitute as microlearning can include short videos and slides, which can provide information quickly and concisely, as opposed to long articles. Not only is this less time consuming, a short video explaining the basics of a concept is sure to helps learners grasp concepts much more quickly, which in turn maximises the focus and engagement with the course, thus leading to success. Microlearning also can be accessed on the go, and thus helps learners manage their time, something which has become increasingly more important in the fast-paced, modern society.
4. Social Learning
Social learning is another trend present in the field, due to the fact that learners are often present on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat and Twitter, etc. Learning doesn’t have to be confined to one platform only, and thus, successful UX design in the context of elearning may involve keeping momentum and building trust through updates and friendly reminders through social media, in order to ensure the user experience is the best it can be to optimise learning. Students like to share knowledge with friends or join groups/clubs, so extending the learning experience beyond the main format and incorporating social media is a good way to enhance it. Examples of how this can be done can include creating a Facebook group for a set of trainees/learners, where live video features can be used by students to create course videos to share with the group.
Another example could be on Twitter, where a classroom hashtag can be created where learners and educators alike can tweet in long walls of text. Ultimately, there is an emerging trend of integrating social media platforms with elearning to offer a more relatable and engaging learner experience. Similarly, just like learners may switch between social media platforms, they may wish to switch between devices. Therefore, in today’s digital climate, it is common for elearning UX designers to create a responsive or adaptive design. A responsive design simply responds to the size of a device, and adjusts itself to fit the screen accordingly, for example accessing elearning from a laptop, then sizing down when on a mobile phone. On the other hand, adaptive sites require totally different versions of a site to be created, so that when a page is opened on a specific device or browser, the correct version loads. So, due to the social media-heavy lives of learners, as well as the multitude of devices used, it is becoming more of a trend to cater to these aspects of learner’s busy lives.
More information on trends for 2019: