I have always loved color as it applies to visual stimuli in educational materials. As an undergrad student studying the needs of special populations in the classroom, I wrote a paper on using color to keep students with learning disabilities organized. Closer to graduation, I conducted two separate experiments and wrote scientific papers on using color and pictoral stimuli to enhance the learning process. Now as a teacher, I pride myself in using color and pictures to keep my students engaged with lessons as well as scaffold instruction for my ESL students. I am elated to be exploring these topics again in graduate school this week in my Multimedia in Technology Applications class as we develop our “how to” lesson into picture-only instructions.
We were referred to two websites on color theory and visual design for our studies this week: Principles of Color and the Color Wheel and Design and Colour. Both are essential to instructional design and learning and can either enhance the learning process or completely distract the viewer impeding learning. Consider a website using stimulating yet aesthetically pleasing colors; the colors attract the viewer making them WANT to continue to explore the site. On the other hand, a website with loud or clashing colors makes the viewer want to leave the website as soon as possible after finding only what they need. Visual design can make a bigger impact. Using design principles alone can either present the viewer with a clear, cohesive package and take them on a journey through the information OR present a discombobulated, confusing mess which does not benefit the learner at all. Color and design principles apply to all forms of media because educational materials come in all shapes and sizes. Of course, more and more materials are going digital but learners must still view the information. Teachers must evaluate their digital and printed resources carefully to maximize good examples and minimize the poor.