Using Custom Graphics for eLearning Design

In today's video, I'm going to share a really simple way to use illustrations in your eLearning,
One of the things that I've found most challenging about designing eLearning is finding the right images to use in the course. Now, obviously we have lots of available these days like Shutterstock, and kind of those stock image websites where you can search for a particular keyword and find, you know, hundreds of images that relate to the part of the course you're talking about. But one of the problems with this is . So, if you use too many different images, the course can feel a bit kind of all over the place. And sometimes it feels like the images that you're using kind of just being like shoehorned in there because it loosely relates to what you're talking about and that can actually distract the learner and then take them away from what they're trying to focus on.

And one of the problems I've had with regards to this is finding that if I'm doing a course, a good example is, recently I did a course on project management where the topics, pretty much, the topics throughout the whole course were related to having meetings, doing handovers, giving feedback to colleagues, basically lots of people talking to each other. And so within kind of 10, 15 slides, I felt like I'd kind of that type of image, and I was just doing the same thing over and over again.

So, a technique that I came across a few years ago and I have no idea if this was something that I came up with myself or whether I'd seen it elsewhere, was to use custom illustrations to kind of make the course feel very kind of essentially. But one of the byproducts of doing this was that I could create a brief for exactly what I wanted the image to be, well, I actually created a number of briefs for all the images throughout the course. And it was only a short module, so it probably sounds a bit intimidating if you've got a two-hour long course, but if we're just talking about a short module, using custom illustrations is very .

So in today's video I'm going to show you some of the examples of the illustrations we used. I'll show you some of the final course and how we use them in the actual course itself. But before I go into that, I just wanted to talk about the process because using custom illustrations in a course probably sounds quite and like something that you could only afford if you have a budget. But that definitely wasn't the case. We had a really small budget for this project, but I wanted it to look really and really kind of, I wanted it to look really and slick.

So I went on to Upwork, I'm sure you're familiar with that website, and I found some . So there's hundreds of people on there that do this type of work. I looked around and I sort of got a good taste of the type of illustration that was out there, and I wrote a pretty simple brief of the type of image I was looking for. I wrote , the type of different images that I wanted throughout the course. And I posted that on Upwork. I kind of gave a of what I was looking to pay and I think, I can't remember exactly, but I'm sure the amount I paid was under $500. So that gives you an idea of how much you might be spending for this type of thing.

So it was quite a lot of work for me because I had to kind of write a of what I wanted in each image. But the payoff was great and I'm going to show you why. So let me jump into the illustrations and talk you through them. Now, the reason that this was such an interesting exercise is that, I'll show you one of the scenes to begin with. This is one of the illustrations that we had done. As you can see, it's just a construction site, there's a guy with a checklist and we've got a skip there at the bottom as well. Now, the illustrator created this from my brief, I asked him to do it in color, but one of the benefits of getting an illustrator to do this is before they do it in color, they have to do it in black and white as well.

So we not only got the color version of that image, but we also got the black and white version as well, which meant that I could use both of those images within the course I was building. And this meant, and I'll show you later, I'll show you some examples of how we did this, but we were able to color, and black and white in the same image. And if I show you an example of how that might look, we can see here we've got the black and white background, and I'd actually mock this up in Photoshop. So I took the black and white image, I applied a gentle kind of transparency to it. You can see that this looks a bit more grayed out than this very harsh black color here. And then I the JCB and this workman on top of that black image, knowing full well it was going to sit right in the exact place 'cause it was the exact same drawing.

And so then what this meant was that within the design of the course, I was able to the same images several times to really kind of essentially because seeing this image in the course, the black and white one, looks quite different to seeing this image. And then if we look at a couple more examples, here's the same image with the guy on the right or in color, and, let's get the skip, this is the same version with the skip highlighted. And what we actually did with this, you can probably sort of hear the punchline coming, is that we created hover states in Storyline. So we were able to turn this into an activity where people could click on things and it would reveal more information.

But regardless of whether you the build it into an activity or not, we can see here that from one drawing, one illustration, which was this one, we've actually got four of the same illustration, which means that actually you're getting a lot of value for your money, let's imagine that we paid $50 for this illustration. You've now got four different versions of that same image that you can use within the course. And not only that, in fact, you could then quite easily different parts of the image to use within the course as well. So I could quite easily cut this chap out here on the right with his hat and his checklist, and I could use that in the corner of an image that might have sort of text on a screen or something else on the left hand side.

So the advantage of doing this is you've got a lot of in what you then do with the content that you've created or the illustrations you’ve had drawn for you. So, well, I'll just show you a couple more of the images. We can see here, I got some sort of individual images created. So these were just sort of standalone and I had exactly the same thing done here, just had the black and white created and the color. I'll give you a few more variations. We can see here is a group of people. And so it was very simple, very simple stuff. But you can imagine how visually having this type of illustration is within your course, compared to, you can imagine if you went on to Shutterstock and typed in group of people or a group of volunteers, it would be very unlikely that you'd find something as as this.

And also the other thing to consider is, what I mentioned before, is that photo that you find of your group of volunteers, is it going to sit nicely along your business woman with her light bulb. So you can see this image here, is it feasible you can find two images that are very specific in nature, that kind of and feel consistent. So by getting the illustrator to do this in the same style, and I made sure I specified that when I wrote the brief, I wanted this to be in the same style. It was very easy to make sure that all these images are together nicely. And the end result was a course that really looked apart.

So if I just get rid of these, I'll show you some images of the course. It's difficult to show you the actual course itself because the images are kind of interspersed the whole course. But you can see here, this was the that I was talking about before. So this is where you've got a series of items you've got to click on to reveal more information. So, the first idea would be that you hover and then eventually once you've hovered you can click on an and it gives you some more information. I'll show you a couple more.

So it's pretty straightforward, and then we had a checklist on the right hand side to show which ones had been visited. Now, not only was I able to incorporate those illustrations into the themselves, I was able to use elements of the images to incorporate into other aspects of the module as well. And if I show you this slide here, we can see that this is a menu that took the learner into of the course. And so what I did is I just took snippets of each of the different images that we created, and I kind of that into the menu at the start.

So it was a really successful project for me because I was able to use these illustrations to really kind of make this course look very unique and individual. And I don't know what the price is of a license to Shutterstock is. But I would imagine that paying for Shutterstock would not be too dissimilarly priced to paying a , your illustrations for your eLearning or your visuals for your eLearning. So for me it was a really exercise, a really good thing to do and I would definitely recommend doing it.

Obviously you don't want all your courses to feel exactly the same. So you wanna find an illustrator that's got different styles, and this style wouldn't necessarily be appropriate for every course you're gonna build. But it's just another idea, it's just another kind of tool for your and then something else you might wanna try in a course you have in the future. So, I hope that was useful. If you've got any comments as per usual, just drop them in the comment section below the video. If you enjoyed the video, please hit the light button and remember to subscribe. And if you wanna keep up to date with everything that I've got going on, head over to my website and subscribe to my email list and I'll make sure to on everything else. But thanks very much for watching and I'll see you in the next video.