Colours in Learning

I am currently enrolled on the L&D Level 3 Diploma and one of the assessments I need to do is to designing a learning session (working with another member of the group).  Our topic 'using colours in learning'.

Colour is around us all the time and we tend to just accept it, however, before weI start working on the session I wanted to do a little research around this.  Many people have no issues with colour but I know others do eg my husband is colour blind and has problems differentiating between green and red.  This has made me think about what we would need to take into account when designing a learning session using colour and so I thought I would turn to the community to get feedback from people on their experience of colour, for example:

Does it make you happy/sad?

Are you colour blind and if so what colours cause you problems. 

I would look to hear from anyone with a view on this topic.


Sharon Gorman

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  • Hi Sharon.

    I'm partially colour-blind, possibly similar to your husband. I can't pick out red very well. Imagine you had a pot of blue paint and you were gradually adding more and more tiny amounts of red to it. Non colour-blind people would say that the mix of paint in the pot had turned purple much sooner than I would. You'd have to put loads of red in there for me to no longer see the paint as blue.

    It would be similar if the pot had green paint in it and you added red. I'd need loads of red in there before I saw the mix had turned from green to brown - because I just don't pick out red so well.

    To help me in a class based exercises I'd say make the colours really distinctive so no bluey-greens, no khakis or magentas - that kind of thing.  Have dark brown, light green, deep purple and sky blue. But my preference would be to have the colour written on there. Alternatively - could you use coloured shapes instead? So maybe the square is blue but the triangle is purple. That, I could handle. 

    Some people find being colour-blind very frustrating and embarrassing so I hope this helps you with inclusivity.

    As an aside, I was lucky enough to be given enchroma sunglasses on my 40th birthday. They genuinely changed my life: when I'm wearing them in bright sunshine I can distinguish colours much better and the brightness of colour I can now see astonishes me.


    EnChroma Glasses for the Color Blind
    EnChroma Glasses for the Color Blind
  • Hi Sharon

    Yes I agree you would need to take into account how people can see colours differently.

    For me personally, I like bright colours such as orange (a great mood lifting colour).  I find shades of green and lighter blue can help with relaxation and possibly could help to improve concentration.  



  • May I suggest that you go off piste with this and look at dyslexia and autistic spectrum disorders, both of these groups se colours differently and their brains react differently to colours. It's a really interesting topic but few people understand it's value to learning for these groups.

  • Thanks everyone for your feedback.  I will look at all of this and consider it when looking to design the session.  I find it really interesting that on a normal day colour is just colour.  Now it has a whole new meaning :)

  • Hiya, when I think about colour I think about contrast and designing for inclusion.  W3 has some great resources on this:

  • Hi Sharon,

    I've been thinking about this since you posted last week. Colours in learning is certainly a touchy subject for me. Designing online learning, videos, graphics etc is something I've kind of fell into over the years without any formal training as such..... One thing that still puzzles me is the science of colours. What colours are suitable for different productions, what colours envoke what emotions, even down to what colours go with what colour. See me in the DIY store paint isle or the soft furnishing department looking at cushions and curtains and you'll notice I step backwards and let my good lady step forward!

    There's a couple of sites that I've found really useful in mixing and matching colours:

    This video is quite good:

    Here's a colour palette generator:

    Interested to have a look at anything you have to share.

  • Thanks Nicola.  Yes I have quite a bit of information from google, but find it interesting to also get other peoples point of view.  Thanks for the good luck - I'm sure it will go ok :)

  • Colour is facinating and our perception of it changes depending on the way eyes receive light and transmit to the brain.  There's lots of infor on google, which I'm sure you know already.  good luck with it

  • Thanks Nicola.  I've book a book called Colour Pschology Today which is a very interesting read, providing info about what colours to use etc but I'm still interested to learn about colour blindness and what colours cause problems.

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