In the early days of this blog I made reference to the little things that we overlook when designing online courses. I often make the point that DESIGN is EVERYTHING (via Tom Peters). That means visual design, NOT instructional design. I've blogged about smells that effect learning, colors that effect learning, and now The emotion of Shapes.
There is much more going on in our subconscious than the superficial, cookie-cutter, learning systems and solutions promoted by the ISD community can address. Sure we chunk our material into modules with a click Next navigation button and multiple choice test that supports our objectives, but what else do we consider?
Do you really spend the time to consider the shapes of the graphics you choose, the color, or the smell of the classroom?
If your graphics are subconsciously annoying your users, or even making them angry, then maybe your learners are less likely to learn. Or perhaps the opposite is true. Maybe creating shapes that evoke unconfortable emotions will in fact engage the learner even more on a subconscious level. Maybe they engage to say how mad they are...but at least they are engaged.
We DO know that learning cannot occur without reaching learners on an emotional level. I just can't remember where I saw the data to link to it. But I do believe it.