8 min
· Posted on
September 7, 2022

Colors and e-learning

Online courses seem to have taken center-stage in learning and education. With the advent of the pandemic, it became even more significant.

Trends sprouted, new course ideas came to life, and of course, the benefits for both the creators and learners were (and are still) massive.

Creating an Online Course

There are some pretty standard steps here. Choosing a topic, determining the right audience, creating an outline, and the content come first.

Next is choosing the host platform and the proper means of presenting the course. [1]

These are all well and good. But beyond the big things, the little things matter. To build a solid brand, you have to create a brand literally. That means name, design, logo, colors, interface, etc.

Let's discuss colors in branding.

Without seeing a name, we're confident you can identify Google and Instagram with their unique logos. Also, platforms such as Facebook have a telltale look - the famous blue and white.

Is it all just random? It's certainly not!

It turns out that colors significantly influence learning. Such a simple yet powerful tool to optimize your online course or learning platform.

Colors for elearning

Here are a few reasons why colors are essential in learning

✓ Color stimulates learning

Already, e-learning increases retention rates by about 25% to 60%. [2] This is great. Throw in a couple of videos, and this number rises even more. But, videos require quite a bit of work compared to something as simple as the correct use of colors.

With over 50% of the brain devoted to processing visual information, it's not hard to see why colors do such a great job here. [3]

What's more visually appealing than colors when used correctly? They influence the learning environment in distinct ways by stimulating learning in students.

✓ It keeps learners learning

It'd be challenging for students to sustain reading a hundred-page book of just plain black and white texts. The same goes for your online course. There's only so much they can focus on before the need to switch. A course with color schemes helps prevent this and directs its focus to the right areas.

✓ A shade smarter

Being a good course creator is great, but it can only get you so far in the e-learning industry. It's estimated that the industry will be worth about $50 billion by 2026. [4]

There's a lot of competition here. You need all the help you can get to make it in this industry. So, in addition to your educational skills, a smart business strategy is a must!

Here, your design plays a huge role. Strategic use of solid colors often pays off when designing e-learning materials. But be sure to use them on neutral backgrounds.

The keyword here is "Strong," not "Loud." An effective color scheme attracts the eye in the right direction and makes your course that much better.

✓ Color enhances concentration

Textbooks are often black prints against a white background. That's pretty dull stuff. Take your e-course to the next level.

It's not just about making your designs pretty. Colors can improve comprehension by a whopping 73%. This doesn't mean that you should use colors only for "fun topics." Even the most technical subjects can benefit from this.

Perhaps, you're not yet sold on the idea of unleashing your inner artist. Well then, don't take just our word for it. Let's see what the people think.

survey by Xerox Corporation and International Communications Research shows just how much power color holds in learning.

➢ 92% of respondents believe color imparts an impressive quality to an image.

➢ 90% of them believe that clients remember more of a presentation or document when color is used.

➢ 90% also believe color assists in attracting new customers. [5]

The numbers don't lie. Whip out your virtual palette and go to work, making your platform more successful.

✓ Colors build brand loyalty and create recognition

What comes to mind when you see the orange-pink-purple gradient? A deconstructed rainbow? Not quite. Of course, it's the famous Instagram logo.

The same survey cited above revealed that 81% of respondents feel that colors give them a competitive edge.

Brand loyalty is critical if you'll withstand the massive competition in the industry. Colors give you that. With the right color scheme, you can easily recognize your brand and appeal to your clients' subconscious to stick with you. If you're curious about branding and whether to carry it out, read more on whether to develop a brand and color scheme here.

Colors for online courses

Best Colors for Learning

Just because it's visually appealing doesn't mean it will make the kind of impact on your brand that you wish.

Colors have different meanings. It's pertinent you understand them before you think of using them to build your e-learning brand.

Here are a few top colors you could consider using and what they mean for your e-learning brand –


There's a reason the clear blue sky is often used to represent a state of calmness. The color gives off such a calming vibe. Studying can be a bit of a mind-boggling experience. A color that evokes a learner's sense of calmness is highly welcome. It's also suitable form-learning materials used by employees, especially during high-stress situations with stringent deadlines.


The great outdoors, away from the city's hustles and bustles, is often the perfect and most relaxing place anyone can think of. Green often signifies this fresh, free space.

In learning, this color does the same. It relaxes a person, thereby increasing focus and concentration. No creative blocks on this page; thank you very much.


Red typically indicates urgency and importance. It's often used in e-learning to direct learners or employees to key points requiring immediate attention.

Yellow or orange

These often boost mood and energy. Frustrating moments in one's life can translate to creative blocks, preventing them from focusing 100% on their screen words. That defeats the whole purpose of e-learning or m-learning. Fortunately, a little sunshine dose in the form of yellow and orange colors strategically placed on the platform can change that.


Yes, we know white isn't technically a color, but it deserves a spot on this list for two main reasons.

First, white embodies the minimalist nature perfectly. Some people work better in such environments. Take this into consideration and create a tasteful course page with different shades of white and some pop of color.

Secondly, white is a great background to use or just an excellent means of balancing other colors. On its own, it can also create that much-needed sense of calm and peace.

Colors for learning

Using Colors for Your E-Learning

➢ Branding first

This is important. You should uniform your brand color from your logo to the actual design of your materials. Communicate your personality and the feel of your course through the right colors.

It would be rather weird if your logo/brand colors were a loud combination of colors that'd put the rainbow to shame, only for your course to be as minimalist as they come.

Let your courses' aesthetic and your brand's aesthetic work together.

➢ Choose the right colors and right placement

Every page of your learning material doesn't have to be saturated by all the colors you've chosen. Determine the appropriate placement for each. Also, choose shades or tones and adapt as needed.

Combination matters. If you have to get a color wheel to guide your choices, go right ahead. The right way to create meaningful legibility is with contrast. While developing your e-course content, test out colors that produce the best contrast, as well as those you can use for highlights.


Monochrome schemes are often nice when you find a way to introduce different tones. But, use black or white to emphasize specific points. As for complementary or opposite colors, please do your best to tone it down. Nothing too loud.

➢ Don't go overboard

Aesthetic appeal is excellent for a lot of things, e-learning inclusive. However, as Aesthetically appealing as it is, never compromise the legibility of your work. That makes the quality of your work nosedive.

We've been cautious not to use the word 'favorites' in this work, and for a good reason. If your favorite color would be too loud when combined with your brand colors, don't use it. If it doesn't provide contrast, either leave it or drop the other color for a better, more contrasting one.

Your desire to have your favorite color appear in your work vs. your duty as a course creator to make something legible for your learners… it's a relatively simple choice.

➢ Consider your audience demographics

Your potential clients depend on the nature of your course content. This means you could have an audience with different tastes. For instance, an e-course for kids should have a less formal, livelier, feel to it. Consider this when creating your brand and content.

Colors template

Tips to Ensure Your Chosen Color Schemes Work for Your Brand

Ultimately, make colors an integral part of your e-learning materials. Be sure to start with your branding. Use the colors to project your energy. Use the information above to figure out how best to do this.

Good luck!


1. Main steps to create an online course (part 1). Julia. Gurucan. https://www.gurucan.com/posts/online-course-steps. Accessed: 20-02-2021.

2. 27 Astonishing E-learning Statistics for 2020. Bobby Chernev. Tech Jury. https://techjury.net/blog/elearning-statistics/#gref. Accessed: 20-02-2021.

3. The Mind's Eye. Susan Hagen. Rochester.edu. https://www.rochester.edu/pr/Review/V74N4/0402_brainscience.html. Accessed: 20-02-2021.

4. 62 eLearning Stats and Facts that You Need to Know Now. elearn2grow. https://www.elearn2grow.com/2020/06/16/elearning-stats/. Accessed: 20-02-2021.

5. Small Businesses Work Better With Color. Xerox. https://www.xerox.com/downloads/usa/en/n/nr_ColorSurvey_ExecutiveSummaryChart.pdf. Accessed: 20-02-2021.

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