The Halo Effect: First Impressions for e-Learning


Whether it’s for a job interview or a blind date, you want to look your best. That’s because you recognize the value of first impressions. But did you know first impressions are important in your e-Learning course too?Your learners will unconsciously judge your e-Learning course at first glance—it’s called the Halo Effect. This social-psychology phenomenon, first explained by American psychologist Edward Thorndike, causes people (like your learners) to use one trait to make quick judgments of an overall person or thing. If you’ve ever met someone and instantly disliked him because of his wrinkled shirt or unflattering hairstyle, you’ve experienced the Halo Effect.These Halo Effect rapid decisions can be positive or negative.

  • For example, if your learners like one aspect of your e-Learning course (such as your creative theme design), they’ll have a positive predisposition toward everything about the course as a whole.
  • But if your learners dislike one aspect of your course (such as an intro slide that’s crammed with text), they’ll have a negative predisposition toward the whole course.

You only have a few seconds to make an awesome first impression and get that positive Halo Effect working in your favor. A lot of first-glance impressions in e-Learning are based on design—colors, fonts, images and more.

Design – User test to confirm that your overall course design makes a good first impression. Here are a few tips to help: Tips from a Graphic Designer.

Color – The color scheme of your course is more important than you may think. Learn more about color psychology here: Color Me Intrigued: e-Learning and the Psychology of Color.

Fonts – Typography matters, so choose your fonts carefully. Here’s a great guide: Essentials of Typography for e-Learning. And Lectora® users, here’s a cool tutorial on using custom fonts: 3 Ways to Use Custom Fonts in Lectora.

Images – Don’t skimp on image selection. The first image your learners see should create interest. Here’s some help: How to Choose the Best Images for Your e-Learning. Got a limited budget? Take your own stock photos: Be a Stock Photography Model!

Text – Don’t overwhelm your learners with a huge block of text. Use these tips to create a positive Halo Effect with your text: 5 Tips for Dealing with Distracted and Impatient Learners.

Authoring Tool – This one’s for you! Use an authoring tool that’s powerful enough to help you create an amazing e-Learning course—from first impression to the final quiz question. Try a free 30 day trial of Lectora® Online, the newest version of this powerful cloud authoring tool.

Use these tips and resources to make the best first impression in your e-Learning course! With the right strategy and tools, you can create the positive Halo Effect that you want from your learners.For more e-Learning articles and resources, subscribe to the Lectora e-Learning Blog!