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4621 N Ravenswood Ave.
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.

Custom e-learning can be simple or complex, but not complicated


Custom e-learning can be simple or complex, but not complicated

Matt Trupia

Everything about technology trends gravitates towards integrating it more seamlessly into your life. Developers want their tech or software to recognize your natural habits and elevate them to an insidiously convenient level. At this point we’re highly trained to reject technology that doesn’t function intuitively. To create a successful gadget or app, companies have to create something that feels rich in content or function but effortless in design. This applies to both the critical user experience and the under-the-hood architecture.


From a user perspective, from the opening minute someone is launching, signing in, and navigating the software...I mean, that is a big minute. If there are too many things to click, my focus starts to dissipate and the impulse I had to use that technology could fade, too. If key features are buried too far down in the experience, I may not be up for the effort to get there.

The same principles apply to learning courseware, and the stakes are often higher. Your audience might rely on that information to develop their careers, stay compliant with federal policies, or any number of critical things. Further into the experience, intuitive design is just as important - you want people to be concentrating on the content or behavior, rather than the interface or buttons. Here are a few things to watch out for:

  • Be careful not to bog down the interactivity with dense text, long audio, or unexpected overlays that obstruct key visuals onscreen.

  • Don’t make learners have to toggle back and forth between screens to make decisions, if that kind of recall isn’t related to the learning point.

  • Don’t get repetitive with media - making your learners listen to and read all content on the screen is aggravating and adds unnecessary production effort to the courseware

  • Consider how the screen will be experienced and cognitively processed. Can you build in screen components in such a way that guides the user’s attention in a smooth and useful way? You can, I know it.


Complicated technology can also cause trouble during development. It should be noted that there is a difference between complex and complicated. Complexity can be managed perfectly well with research and the right vendor. Many large-scale deliverables require careful communication across a network of servers, LMSs, websites, databases, you name it, and need to be coordinated and tested extensively. Below are some red flags that things might be getting too complicated.

  • Unneeded or robust features are added late in development

  • Too many programming platforms are hacked together

  • Using a platform way beyond its intended capabilities

  • Using a platform that does not scale well if that is a project goal

These are some things to keep in mind that as you set forth into planning and production for your custom e-learning project. Custom doesn’t have to mean too elaborate, and it shouldn’t have to mean complicated, either. Pairing user-friendly interfaces with practical architecture is always a solid bet, no matter how big your project gets.