Moving away from the traditional design style of focusing only on content design to modern ways of learning be it microlearning, learning enabled by VR and AR or gamification of learning, e-learning has come across a long way in how it is delivered and consumed.  Here are some key factors that I am focusing on in my blog, which influence e-learning designs of today


2.Emotion and social learning

1.Cognitive theory and how cognition influence learning.

Human brains continue to baffle the scientist and researchers even today science has different versions of how learning happens inside the human brain. To understand the human cognition in learning researchers around the world and their findings are important theories for learning.
For example, Albert Bandura’s social learning theory hypothesizes that we learn by observing and modeling the behavior of others or in other words cognitive learning is learning through experience.
The cognitive learning theory is divided into two specific theories: the Social Cognitive Theory (SCT), and the Cognitive Behavioral Theory (CBT).

Another popular cognitive learning theory is Richard Mayer’s cognitive theory of Multimedia Learning. The basic premise of this theory is that we can learn more deeply from words and pictures together than we can from just words alone.
The theory explains that the brain takes in information and processes in multiple channels, based on how that information is presented. Visually represented material owns the first channel and the second is for auditorily presented material. When a learner is presented visual information, including pictures, videos, charts, and other graphics all of that information goes into the visual channel and is processed there. Auditory information includes spoken words, narration, and other non-verbal sounds, and these are processed by the brain separately from the visual.

How to include cognitive learning into e-learning design?

While designing e-learning for the audience, the organisation must understand that learners have a limited capacity for holding information and anything beyond a limit will lead to information overload.

1.Chunking down of learning content

The organisation should choose what is must to know or must show from good to know learning content. This reduces the effort of the brain to think and filter information.

2.Include only relevant  graphics

Make sure that the multimedia included in the e-learning is relevant to the learning content. The organisation can choose to make the images more relatable to what is seen in real life and past experience to make the learning process more engaging.

3. Don’t overuse the multimedia

Make sure only the relevant and essential multimedia is included. Overusing can create a cognitive overload in processing the information.

4. Allow the learners to customize

The organisation can allow the learner to choose the personalized avatar, characters etc to customize the learning experience. This gives a sense of ownership and responsibility to complete the learning process.

2.Human emotions and Importance of considering human emotions in e-learning

‘When dealing with people you’re not dealing with creatures of logic, but with creatures of emotion’- Daniel Craig
Studies show that human emotion influences how learning happens inside the human brain. Hence while designing e-learning, the organisation should consider the factor of human emotions to make learning effective and engaging.  

Here  are some popular benefits of emotions in e-learning design

1. Emotion drives attention.

2.Aids better knowledge retention

3.Drives behavior change

How to influence human emotions through e-learning design?

1.Using storytelling techniques

The organisation can choose to include storytelling techniques which are considered to be an effective technique to bring human emotions in learning. The organisation can make a short animated video with an effective storyline and relatable graphics to capture learner attention.


To know about the importance of rewards in e-learning, you can refer to my blog here. It’s a fact that human enjoys the moment of winning rewards. Rewards give a sense of achievement and recognition to the learners which help in creating positive emotions among the learner. While including the rewards in e-learning, I recommend the organisation to go beyond the usual points, badges, and leaderboards and ensure that learners are able to relate to it.


Microinteractions are small moments where the user and design interact. Microinteractions in e-learning can help in creating quick and short emotions in the human brain like a moment of delight.  Here is a quick example of using micro interaction to create emotions. Pressing the small heart gives a sense of positive emotion i.e a delight of happiness in the brain.


3.Social learning

Human beings are social animals…Hence social learning exists in our DNA and the technology of today helps in creating better opportunities for delivering or enabling social learning opportunities.

What Is Social learning?

In simple words, Social Learning is learning through collaboration, observation and interactions with others. The significant penetration of social media in our daily lives without any doubt, make them ideal learning tools for corporate learning.  With social websites and forums that allow learners to interact with each other, technology has ensured that social learning can happen with ease. Here are some interesting statistics that tells the importance of social learning.

•82% of businesses that use social learning tools want to increase their use them in the future

•Course completion increased to 85% on HBX, a Harvard Business School online education initiative when it introduced social learning

•Semiconductor manufacturer, AMD, says their shift to social learning saves more than US$250,000 per year in web-based training production costs.
By introducing social learning, an organisation can redefine the training by creating more engagement as well as improve the communication within the employees. Social learning also creates a strong platform for other learning initiatives like User Generated Content e

What are the ways to include social learning in e-learning design?

1. The organisation can include social chat options in e-learning enabling the learners to talk with peer learners.

2. The organisation can use social media websites and forums to encourage discussion among learners.

3. The organisation can promote a blended learning approach to enjoy the benefits of social learning. Like an organisation can deliver case studies in the form of  micro-nuggets to the mobile device of the learners and encourage an offline discussion with peer learners to find a solution.

4. Today learning is not inclusive to formal channels. Hence, I recommend the organisation to promote learning through informal channels like social messaging apps, etc.

Thus from the traditional style of focusing only on the content. I recommend the organizations to consider the cognitive. emotional and social learning techniques in e-learning