When you’re designing multimedia learning content, you’ll find imagery becomes extremely important, but as with writing content and developing videos, the images and graphics you use should be done so in a way that’s smart and that’s going to increase the overall effectiveness of your content.
Images are important to include because they increase the aesthetic appeal of content in your learning management system (LMS), and they also serve to increase the engagement on the part of your learner, but as with pretty much anything in life, it is possible to go overboard.
When you utilize too many images or graphics your learner may not be able to discern the most important takeaways from your content, and it can become overwhelming.
So how do you choose the right images, and create the ideal balance?
Focus on Relevancy
First and foremost, when deciding on images for your corporate content, you always need to have a focus on choosing materials that are completely relevant to what you’re presenting to the learner. Don’t include images that lack relevancy just for the sake of doing so—it’s not only unnecessary, but it can actually counteract the effectiveness of your content, even if it’s aesthetically pleasing.
When you select images that lack relevancy, you’re detracting from your core message, and your learner can become confused and lose interest.
Decide on the Type of Image You’ll Use
With images you have two primary options—you can utilize photographs or illustrations. For corporate training materials it can be tricky to determine which is most appropriate.
In order to maintain a sense of professionalism you may want to stick with photographs, but if you find there’s an area that would be better suited to a graphic, go ahead and use it if it’s a natural fit.
It’s fine to mix and match photographs and graphics, as long as there’s a sense of visual continuity and flow throughout your multimedia content.
It’s also important to have a purpose for each image, and know that purpose before you include it in your LMS content. Whether it’s purely aesthetic, or serves an educational purpose, be clear on why you’re including any image, to guide you as to whether or not it’s worth including.
Use Images to Demonstrate Your Corporate Culture and Create a Connection
If you’re using an LMS in order to train new employees on your corporate culture and to outline your company’s identity and trajectory, it can be a good idea to include images that are representative of these components.
Use personal photos that show the leaders of your company, real-life settings of employees in the company, and other images that are going to create a connection between your learner and your organization. You don’t always have to use stock photos, and allowing your learner to put a face with the name of your CEO, or showing your actual employees in action, is a great way to build a better understanding of your corporate culture.
Evoke Emotions But Don’t Go Too Far
The best corporate learning materials do evoke a sense of emotion—countless research studies show that when learning elicits an emotional response it tends to be more effective, but at the same time, you want to balance that with the worry of being too provocative.
Good multimedia learning imagery should certainly get your learner to feel something in order to more effectively convey the concepts being presented, but if it’s too emotionally charged or too controversial, the result is a loss of the meaning of your message.
Try to Reflect Your Audience in Your Images
In your corporate training and development content, building a connection between the material and the learner is important, so when you’re choosing your images try to consider your audience.
Think about being reflective of your audience in the images you choose, particularly in terms of photographs. Learners inherently want to feel they’re reflected in what they’re learning, and it will help them make the parallels between the content and real-world scenarios.