Design Affects Educational Learning

I am taking an online Western Civilization II course through a community college back home. It started last week, and one of the seven weekly assignments was to watch this video on the Battle of Lützen in 1632.

…it was painful, to say the least, and not because the war wasn’t interesting, but because of the way the designer chose to format the video.

I took several screenshots to illustrate my point:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LC5RusVOoZ8

Found on YouTube.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LC5RusVOoZ8

Found on YouTube.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LC5RusVOoZ8

Found on YouTube.

Personally, I think the choice of backgrounds were not efficient. Although the black-and-white pictures are informative in a visual aspect, they distract from the text which really explains what’s happening. At the same time, the designer picked fluorescent yellow, vibrant red, and black as font colors to accompany the already busy photos. I found that I could not read most of this video (and mind you, it was nine minutes in length).

The historical information found in this video is probably incredibly accurate, so I can understand why my professor chose this particular video as a learning tool. However, the designer did not create it in such a way that it could be an effective learning tool, and that is the root of the problem.

It’s interesting how CRAP, elements of design, principles of design, color, and type truly matter. Whether it be through a document, flyer, pamphlet, poster, or even a YouTube video, they all work together to either make or break a project. I figured this was just something to keep in mind as we begin our first major “Document Design” project!

Williams, Robin. The Non-Designer’s Design Book: Design and Typographic Principles for the Visual Novice. 3rd ed. Berkeley, CA: Peachpit Press, 2008. Print.

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