User Experience (UX) Essentials for Beginner Courses: What to Keep in Mind

For online course creators. 7 minutes read

UX design for beginner courses is about making learning easy and fun for new learners. Designing a beginner course can have its challenges, but there are basic rules to help. Certain foundational UX design principles exist to steer course creators in the right direction, always prioritizing the novice learner’s journey and experience.


(PHOTO: UX Store)


Here are 5 essential UX design principles or pointers for beginner courses to keep in mind:


Simplified Content Layout

Beginner courses shouldn’t feel like deciphering an ancient script. Think back to how textbooks are structured – a table of contents, chapters, headings, and subheadings, all guiding the reader through.  Apply one of the first UX design principles online. Segment information with bullet points, visuals, and breakout boxes. 


Graphics can simplify complex ideas, and varied content types, from text to video, cater to different learning styles. Your content layout should guide learners through information seamlessly. The focus should always be on enhancing understanding while reducing cognitive load.


Implementation Guide: Break down each module into digestible sub-modules. Use design templates from platforms like Canva to ensure a consistent and clean layout. Balance text and visuals for maximum engagement.


Onboarding Tutorials

Starting a new course can be daunting. It’s similar to joining a new school; there’s excitement but also uncertainty. Fortunately, UX design principles can help ease this. A brief onboarding tutorial can set the stage, familiarizing students with course navigation, resources, forums, and grading systems. It serves as your initial handshake with your learner, setting the tone for the journey ahead.


Implementation Guide: Create a short video or interactive slideshow introducing the course’s main features. Direct learners to essential sections, highlighting resources and support options available.


Consistent Design Elements

Design consistency isn’t merely an aesthetic choice; it’s about cognitive ease. When design elements based on the UX design principles, from color schemes to button shapes, remain consistent, learners spend less mental energy on navigation and more on the actual content. 


Think of it as maintaining a consistent classroom environment where the learner always knows where the chalkboard, seats, and exits are.


Implementation Guide: Choose a specific color palette and font family. Stick to these choices throughout. Tools like Adobe Color can help you select complementary color schemes.


Responsive Design

Today’s learners access content from a ton of devices. A course that looks stunning on a laptop might be distorted on a tablet or a smartphone. Investing in responsive design from the UX design principles ensures the course’s visuals adapt gracefully across devices.


Text should remain readable, videos should play seamlessly, and navigation buttons should still be accessible, ensuring consistent learning, regardless of device.


Implementation Guide: Use platforms like Teachable or Thinkific which offer responsive design options. Regularly test your course on multiple devices, ensuring every element transitions smoothly.

Learner-centered Approach

User-centricity places the learner squarely at the forefront of the design process. Instead of merely delivering information, a user-centric approach, as one of the UX design principles, involves understanding and empathizing with the learners’ individual needs, aspirations, and challenges. 


The approach aligns the course to fit these unique characteristics, ensuring the material doesn’t just inform but deeply engages and resonates. 

Implementation Guide: Begin by mapping out user personas, representing the different types of learners who might access your course. Conducting surveys, feedback sessions, or even one-on-one interviews can provide invaluable insights. As you design, continuously refer back to these personas and adjust your course components to best cater to their identified needs.


(PHOTO: Daniel Korpai)


Every design decision for your course should prioritize the learner’s needs, ensuring they remain engaged, supported, and empowered throughout their learning journey. A thoughtful UX is more than just aesthetics; it’s about ensuring a seamless and inclusive experience with your course. 


Remember, embrace these UX design principles and put your learners at the helm; you’re not just teaching; you’re guiding, inspiring, and co-piloting an unforgettable UX-pedition.


May you have a ‘UX-tra’ special course creating experience!

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