common ELearning Mistakes

This e-learning challenge was first posted on the E-Learning Heroes blog on April 25, 2014.

Challenge Link

The challenge for this week is to list some of the more common e-learning mistakes we come across in this business, and then design an e-learning mockup using these errors in an exaggerated form.


E-learning projects come in all shapes and sizes, but the vast majority—regardless of size—take a sizable amount of time to complete. The typical e-learning project is very much a ‘front-loaded’ affair. The instructional design, storyboarding, style guides, template creation, graphic design, etc.—all of it is (or should be) finalized and ready to go before the first bit of actual development takes place. It’s this ‘front-end’ stuff that makes or breaks the course. It takes a lot of time to hammer this stuff out, and all of it matters.

There are plenty of common e-learning mistakes out there, but I chose to focus on the more common design and visual mistakes I come across and very purposefully avoid for a few important reasons:

Now, here’s my example. Where to begin? This is a train wreck in every possible way. Nevertheless, let’s take a few moments to try and understand what it is about this example that makes a person want to dry-heave and run the other way.

1. The use of the font Comic Sans, or something equivalent.

2. Any image errors (the use of pixelated pictures, incorrectly resized images, combinations of image formats, etc.)

3. The inclusion of duplicate navigation buttons.

4. A poor navigational layout.

5. The use of too many font styles.

6. Lack of consistency in the theme.

7. Misalignments.

8. Clutter

I’m a very visual person, so these are the things that I look for immediately when I take a look at other courses and the things I very purposefully avoid when designing my own. What do you look for? What are some common e-learning mistakes that you would add to this list? Feel free to comment in the section below. Happy building!