The Art Of Branding Your Training Platform

Branding Your Training Platform

The place where your eLearning courses are located, your academy, is the entrance to each of your trainings, making it the most viewed area of your training environment. Each participant logs in to your academy to access their courses. Your academy serves as a frame that comprises of training content, participating employees, and the overall company training goal. Therefore, the first basic step in branding your training platform is to integrate your company’s logo in the academy page.

Academy Branding

Academy frame with individual course covers, company logo, and colors. 

Colors In Your Academy

You can include your corporate colors in your academy (according to your company's style guide). You can also add color schemes to your courses. Create a fit between both the academy and course tonality, and make sure to keep the color scheme consistent. This is of particular importance when accessing the training platform from within your intranet, e.g. using the seamless single-sign-on process: participants will immediately recognize the platform appendant.

Custom Academy Pages

Adopt the look and feel of your digital presence and facilitate the familiarization process of your trainers and trainees with the eLearning platform. Create a custom main menu in your academy displaying pages, such as “About us”, “News”, and “Trainers”. These familiar items help users to navigate the platform. Provide helpful information, such as guidelines, a code of conduct or contact information on these pages.

The Academy Pages add a huge benefit to your company, as well as to your trainees:

  • Strengthen your academy’s branding proposition.
  • Provide relevant information about your academy directly within the training platform.
  • Introduce your trainers to add a personal level to your training.
  • Act as a news site where you can publish information about on-going trainings, new courses, learning tips, and more.
  • Provide the option of a go-to knowledge base for your trainees.
  • Embed introductory videos or other content for e.g. quick self-help purposes.

Corporate Certificates  

Most courses conclude with a certification. Participants can download certificates after passing with a certain score. Upload a well-designed certificate for your courses. If necessary, add a label of proof or other seals related to the trainings. This way your participants will hold a certificate that can be clearly associated with your company and their acquired skill in their hands.

Branded certificate

Course certificate with individual background, customized text, and test results.

Branding Your Courses 

So you have successfully branded your academy. Now it is time to think about its learning content.

Unlike the academy layout which remains stable and recognizable, your courses are dynamic and subject to regular changes and updates. Experienced academy managers report that it is vital to introduce basic eLearning principles that every content creator sticks to. Start with the visual language of your courses ranging to the phrasing style. A useful tip for dealing with many eLearning authors: Set up a style guide and use templates to be used for course creation.

Setting Up Templates

There should be a template and guideline that every content creator sticks to. This way participants won’t be confronted with a variety of course styles, which they need to get used to again and again. Chaotic formats are an impediment to learning. Standardized and professionally created courses cast a positive light on your training department. This increases the support of eLearning throughout the company.
Templates are a great way to make sure you have an overall professional looking academy. You can create one template for the whole company, or various templates specifically designed to fit to the needs of the different departments in your company.

Individual course templates for every course: Creating course templates is a one-time job. Often you do not have only one type of course. There are courses that hold an exam at the end, courses that serve as a manual, or courses with the sole purpose of checking participants’ knowledge. Create one course for each necessary purpose to serve as a template. Content creators can a) duplicate and modify these courses and b) use it as a style guide. Tip: Also define and make every trainer use templates when converting PowerPoint presentations into a course.

Participants And Content Matter

Last but not least, you have to invite participants to your academy. This can be done by uploading an Excel file, for example. In the next step participants receive an email notification. This notification should visually fit to the academy’s look and feel. Let your Learning Management System do this part of the work for you: Choose a platform that incorporates features such as displaying your company’s logo and colors in the email. The only thing left for you to do, is to write a personal invitation message for your participant groups.

Branding your training platform is not difficult. Always keep the focus on the actual purpose: Transferring knowledge and qualifying your employees, customers, and partners. It is all about finding the right balance between didactics and design. Your online training platform will help you with that.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

Why Corporate Brand Books Are Not Good For eLearning

Corporate Brand Books Are Not Good For eLearning

Nearly every company has its own corporate style regarding colors, fonts, and aesthetic design for presentations and promotional material: all recommendations on how to follow this style are presented in a Corporate Brand Book. You can see all different kinds of brand books, from really detailed ones, to those containing just a few tips on using a corporate logo or color scheme.

When eLearning course development became a common practice for many companies, some decided to use Corporate Brand Books for course design. While this may seem to make sense, I'd like to remind you what kind of content these Corporate Brand Books were developed for:

  • Corporate presentations for internal and for external events;
  • Marketing materials that should present company with it's own style and culture.

This means, that these don't include:

  • Reading a lot of on-screen text (perhaps, this is not good for an eLearning course, but still happens a lot);
  • Managing the attention and engagement of online learners;
  • Conveying meaning with all different types of design approaches.

Typical eLearning courses stay on-screen much longer than presentations, and need a lot more of the user's attention: they have to read, participate in interactive elements, and feel comfortable through the duration of learning.

For an eLearning course, we need color coding and attention-catching, engaging visual aids to help the learner remember the course. Using bright colors for important words or phrases is useful: you will definitely need colors for your organizational and learning graphics. For example, there are clients that don’t have any red or orange on their color palette: their entire Corporate Brand Book is blue, grey and green. All of those colors are calming and relaxing, but not about being alert and paying attention. The choice of color should always be a factor when designing a course.

Besides colors, fonts are one of the biggest issues. In an eLearning course, we tend to use mainly sans-serif fonts, which are the best for reading on-screen texts. But what if the Corporate Brand Book allows only a serif font, like Times New Roman, which is definitely one of the worst options for eLearning? We also need a font for comments, (like hand-writing or something else; creative but easy to read) and maybe even a third one for something special.

If you are confined to following a Corporate Brand Book, you can try one of these two options:

  • Develop a separate eLearning Brand Book. Some companies already use it, but be sure to give some space for creativity and keep in mind recommendations for using color in eLearning;
  • Agree on following only some of the guidelines, like logo placing and using color palettes for all the slides' content, while not exactly following the Brand Book verbatim.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.