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Chicago, IL 60640
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NogginLabs was founded on the notion that custom e-learning design and development is the ultimate horizontal industry. Time and again, each new project, client, and industry proves it. The biggest advantage of the e-learning horizontal is cross-pollinating ideas from two wildly different domains. A restaurant service simulation for iPad may influence a high-fashion online retail challenge. E-learning for financial advisors in a bank could inspire a mobile outreach program for cancer survivors. This variety also keeps the creative folks at NogginLabs fresh. Fresh learning ideas and designs come from a set of constantly changing constraints.

A clear picture: Images in custom e-learning courses


A clear picture: Images in custom e-learning courses

Ryan O'Neill

So, you’re getting ready to kickoff a custom e-learning project! Congrats! Very exciting stuff. We get a lot of questions at the beginning of a project about what is needed from our clients. I’m going to focus on one of these areas today: Images.

Images are handled differently at many companies. Some clients have to give us special access to image libraries. Others email over what they have saved to their desktops. Let’s take a look at some things to consider when you kick off a project.


This one is big. Hopefully. When we are putting images in courses, we like to receive the largest resolution possible. Our designers can always compress images to be smaller, but they can’t take a small image and blow it up without distorting it.

How can you make sure to give us the highest resolution possible? The easiest way is to make sure that we either have access to (or have sent to us) the actual image files. Sometimes we receive images that are inserted into Word documents or PowerPoint presentations. But these programs compress image files when they are inserted, so the quality goes down.


This one kind of goes along with the resolution of images, but sometimes we get images that are taken with cell phones or low-quality cameras. If this is the only option, we can do our best to make them look good, but it is best to use a high-quality DSLR-style camera to ensure that the images are crisp and clear.

Multiple Options

Oftentimes, we’ll have multiple screens focusing on a single topic. In these cases it is nice to have multiple options of the same subject. That subject may be a character, a location, an object, etc. It’s always better to have more options. This way, seeing the same image over and over again does not fatigue the learner.

Photo Shoot

If your timeline and budget allows, sometimes the only way to get the images you need to show your learners is to schedule a photo shoot.

Some questions to consider when you are setting up a photo shoot are:

  • Do you have an internal department that can light and shoot images? Or will you need to outsource this task?
  • Do you want to hire actors or use your own staff?
  • Do you have a solid idea of the images that will be needed before the shoot begins?
  • Do you have any special needs that should be considered beforehand?
  • Can you secure locations for the photo shoot ahead of time?
  • How about costumes and makeup? Do you need any props or set decoration? Do you need extras in the background at all?

Stock Photos

Some courses don’t require an all-out photo shoot, but you may still want some images of human beings in it. Stock photos are a great option. The only thing to be wary of is that there are a ton of cheesy stock photos out there. We’ve done two great blog posts already about choosing realistic and effective stock photos.