3 Ways to Transform Bullet Points in eLearning

Bullet points in eLearning have a bad reputation. You might think they’re boring, ugly, or a sign of lazy design. No matter what your opinion is regarding the use of bullet points in eLearning, they aren’t going away anytime soon! In fact, bullet points are an easy way to organize and present content. Using bullet points in eLearning doesn’t mean they have to be boring or ugly—you just have to rethink the way you’re using them.

Here are three tips for using bullet points in eLearning.

1. Turn them into a diagram.

Diagrams are a great way to communicate the relationships between pieces of information. So if your bullet points share a meaningful relationship, see if you can turn them into a diagram instead. For example, let’s say you’re designing an eLearning course on preventing identity theft and you want to outline the steps someone should take when they are a victim of identity theft. You could simply list the each step in a numbered list, or you could turn them into a diagram.

Bullet Points in eLearning

Most diagrams can be created using basic shapes and text boxes. You can also use SmartArt in PowerPoint to quickly create a diagram. Additionally, if you have extra information to present with each of your main points, try making the diagram interactive by having each section of the diagram reveal additional information when clicked.

2. Pair them with a meaningful graphic.

The human brain has a greater capacity to remember images than it does text.  So instead of using text bullets, consider using a meaningful (not just decorative) graphic for each point. Over the past several years, icons have become a popular graphic design asset to use in eLearning courses, and they can work well for this purpose.

Let’s say you’re working on an eLearning course to explain the consequences in improperly handling of medical data. As before, you could just list each consequence as a bullet point on the screen, or you could pair each point with a meaningful icon.

Bullet Points in eLearning

Although you can download countless icons sets from the internet, most icons, like diagrams, are created using basic shapes. To get the exact look and feel you desire, try creating your own custom icons in PowerPoint.

3. Change the way they look.

Sometimes a list is just a list. Sometimes you don’t have the time or money for a more elaborate design. The quickest and easiest way to work with bullet points in eLearning is to simply change the way they look. This doesn’t mean getting rid of the bullet points, it simply means embellishing them.

Let’s say you’re working with a series of bullet points to outline some important reminders when dealing with angry customers. Rather than just listing the bullet points on the screen (like you would in a document), take some time to create a checklist graphic and turn each bullet point into an item on that list.

Bullet Points in eLearning

This technique doesn’t avoid the fact that you’ll still end up with bullet points on the screen, but it does present them in a more interesting way. Additionally, if you’re using audio narration in your eLearning course, try adding entrance animations to your bullet points and time them to enter when they’re mentioned in the audio.

Bullet points in eLearning don’t have to be a bad thing. In fact, they’re more versatile than we give them credit for! The key is to find new and creative ways to present them within your eLearning course or presentation.

Do you have a creative way of using bullet points in eLearning? Share it with us by commenting below!

This post was originally published on elearninguncovered.com.

Tim Slade
Tim Slade is a speaker, author, and award-winning freelance eLearning designer. Having spent the last decade working to help others elevate their eLearning and visual communications content, Tim has been recognized and awarded within the eLearning industry multiple times for his creative and innovative design aesthetics. Tim is a regular speaker at international eLearning conferences, is a recognized Articulate Super Hero, author of The eLearning Designer’s Handbook and creator of The eLearning Designer's Academy.

6 Responses to “3 Ways to Transform Bullet Points in eLearning

  • Love your website and your very useful an beautiful tips! I am really looking forward to get into the action with PowerPoint again…

  • Great points Tim! Do you have any suggestions for jazzing up Learning Objective slides that are a serious topic?

    • Hi Leila. Thanks for commenting. I think the same tips apply. You can use icons or images to represent each of your learning objectives. However, I would also argue that you may consider dropping the “learning objectives slide” altogether. I think formal learning objectives are useful for instructional designers; however, I don’t think they provide much use to the learner themselves. Instead, I like to tell the learner what’s in it for them in the introduction of the course. That way, it doesn’t feel like you’re just listing LOs in a series of bullet points.

      • im late on this, but this reinforces my own belief! Nice to know I share the same idea as a pro 🙂

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