Without color, the world would be bland and boring shades of gray. Color has the power to calm us, to put us on high alert, and to get us in touch with nature. It also allows us to convey certain emotions in our eLearning course design. In this eLearning color guide, I’ll explore the psychological significance of each color, so that you can evoke the right emotion in your online learners.
The eLearning Color Guide: How To Evoke The RIGHT Emotion

As Georgia O’Keeffe once said: “I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way – things I had no words for.” Color can stir emotions and hold deeper meanings. This is why it such a powerful tool in eLearning course design. However, it’s crucial to choose the right color palette in order to trigger the desired emotion. You don’t want to shock your online learners with bright and bold hues if the goal is make them feel relaxed. When selecting your eLearning course colors, consider their hidden meanings and uses, all explained in this eLearning color guide.

It’s refreshing, energetic, and sparks creativity. Orange is the ideal color for eLearning courses that need a bit of adventure and excitement while still retaining a professional atmosphere, such as compliance online training courses. Thanks to citrus fruits, it also symbolizes health and rejuvenation. As a result, online learners tend to feel safe and secure when orange is in the picture. Be careful when using this color in large quantities, however, and make sure that the subject matter is in line with its youthful and casual connotation.
The color of peace, calm, and serenity. Blue is the shade of the sky, crystal clear seas, and other elements of nature that trigger a sense of tranquility. It’s ideally suited for eLearning courses that may be more stressful, as it helps to soothe online learners so that they are able to focus on the subject matter. For example, online learners who are exposed to the color blue just before an eLearning assessment may achieve higher scores, due to the fact that they are in a calmer state of mind. In some cases, blue can even signify loyalty, reliability, and authority. However, some may view this color as being cold and depressing. So, be sure to select a shade that features warmer tones if you want to stay upbeat.
Optimism, happiness, and energy perfectly sum up this joyful color. It also signifies intelligence and mental focus. Yellow is a good choice for eLearning courses that need to be more upbeat or friendly, such as eLearning modules that deal with dry and dull subject matter. It catches the online learner attention, without being alarming, and can even seem playful at times, depending on the shade. Just make sure that you use yellow sparingly, as it may overwhelm online learners and distract them from the key takeaways.
The color of urgency, passion, and excitement. Red is sure to catch the eye, but it can also put some online learners on edge. This color is great for eLearning navigation icons, must-read instructions, and other elements of your eLearning course that need to be noticed immediately. It’s definitely bold and vibrant. Therefore, you should use it strategically and only when online learners need to take notice NOW. Bear in mind that many perceive red as the color of anger and frustration. These are two emotions that you want to avoid at all costs, since knowledge retention is tied to favorable eLearning experiences.
Brown is often associated with nature, simplicity, and honesty. It doesn’t have a big wow factor, but that’s what makes it so dependable and reliable. In fact, many people perceive brown as being grounded and organized. This color is ideally suited for eLearning courses that are simple and straightforward, as it doesn’t distract the online learner from the primary topic or task. Some may see it as being dirty or unkempt, however. So, make certain to use a warmer shade, such as deep chocolate browns, instead of duller hues.
When most online learners see the color green two images typically come to mind: nature and money. It also symbolizes vitality, life, and personal growth. The tricky thing about green is that the every shade can hold an entirely different meaning. For instance, a deep hunter green can signify wealth, while lime green can make online learners feel more energetic and youthful. This color is a top choice for ecological eLearning courses, as well as those eLearning courses that deal with money or profit. An example of this would be a sales online training course that is designed to increase company profits.
Evokes feelings of peace, compassion, and love. It is also the color of femininity and nurturing, as well as understanding. Unlike its cousin red, pink is usually more subtle and cheerful. It’s ideally suited for eLearning courses that need to convey a sense of openness and friendliness. Keep in mind that darker hues of pink tend to signify passion and energy, while lighter hues are more soothing and tranquil.
Royalty, intrigue, and spirituality are the three most common meanings for the color purple. This is why many fictional mystics and historic rules are donning this majestic shade. It’s an eye-catching color that will make online learner’s take notice without putting them on high alert. Since it is so vibrant, you may want to use it as an accent color instead of a backdrop to avoid overwhelming your online learners.

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