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Overcoming the Illustration Stigma

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Overcoming the Illustration Stigma

It seems the well drillers don’t prefer their own water. I recently spoke to an owner of an eLearning provider who was required to take a security business training course from a partner company. He said he was bored to a point of tears, perhaps permanently scarred by the experience, and that pretty much all business training was that way. He seemed to brighten up when I told him that there was a better way.

Maybe you are a compliance professional that is responsible reaching out and affecting the ethical culture of your company and you have a vision to provide effective, engaging experience. You’ve read the Smithsonian studies and industry whitepapers that support your desire to use more interactive activities, animated scenarios and realistic illustration style. However, your vision is a direct contradiction to the current ethics training product being used by your organization.

There are more compliance professionals than you might think who want to freshen up their eLearning but must contend with conservative boards, “if-it-ain’t-broke-don’t-fix-it” attitudes, and the belief that branding standards will be lowered by using illustrations. So how do you overcome the stigma attached to using illustration in business training?

Here is a pertinent idea: show, don’t tell. The initial reaction to the words “illustration” or “animation” may not be the same when they see the real thing. Many large brands actually have an approved illustration style that can be leveraged. A proof of concept can go a long way in gaining champions within your organization, and don’t be afraid to compare apples to oranges via live demos.

I recently met with another proponent of the illustrated approach, an eLearning manager of a huge organization who believes if he can do a single learning event with it, his employee population will express a preference for it. He thinks it is a cost-effective way to serve his multiple needs. One of his large brands is actually already asking for it. All he needs is a chance to show the value of animated eLearning and maybe he can do away with the stigmas – and what some might call antiquated thinking – about the business use of illustration.

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