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Style over substance?

I came across this blog by Cathy Moore called ‘What’s the real cost of eye candy?’ - a great article using two clear examples of Cathy’s own as a point of reference.  

The question she is exploring is around her observations of where e-learning has fallen foul of the ‘looking good’ over and above providing a genuinely challenging activity; in Cathy’s words where ‘Its strong for the eyes but weak for the brain’.

It seems (through limited testing) that where the activity or scenario is strong, challenging and interesting, that going heavier on the text is not actually a block to learning – people simply don’t care (or don’t notice?).

Ultimately if we had unlimited time and resources, the perfect scenario could be where the activity is suitably challenging and engaging AND the graphics, images and effects look great too?

What are your thoughts?

What do your stakeholders want from you when designing e-learning in terms of ‘look and feel’ and challenging activities?

Have you experienced great looking e-learning which lacks substance?

What are your experiences of more text based scenarios/activities?

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