Put your e-learning content on a diet!


When creating e-learning content, the main factors we need to consider are the following:

  • The platform/portal in which we are going to host it
  • The ease of use for students and their engagement
  • The relevance of content for learning
  • The importance of the subject matter for the final user
  • The assessment mechanisms provided to measure learning
  • The average time required to perform it

However, there are other secondary factors to which we don’t pay enough attention: one of them is with no doubt the weight. So, put your e-learning content on a diet!


The weight is a characteristic of an e-learning content which directly affects the way in which content is going to be delivered to students, and it significantly influences user experience.

In the case of content to be delivered through an LMS, if your content weighs too much, the time required for the user to view it and the response time to interactions will be longer (the web browser will have to manipulate heavy elements).

The problem is even bigger if your content is going to be delivered through mobile devices by using m-learning systems. In this case, the weight is a fundamental element as it does not only affect content download times and performance, but it’s also affected by the limited storage space of these devices.

One of the trends we presented this year in our i-lovelearning event in Madrid was “Content Chunking”. “Content Chunking” is the technique of dividing content in smaller pieces (byte-sized), easily digestible and transferable. It’s the strategy our Netex learningCoffee format follows and it provides the following benefits:


  • Higher information withholding
  • Better understanding by students
  • Better access and distribution
  • Make searches easier
  • Focus on students’ attention

However, one of the main consequences of “Content Chunking” is the reduction in our content’s weight, which motivates most of these benefits.


Therefore, dividing our content is a good strategy to reduce its weight… but, what else can be done?

If you’re a Netex learningMaker user, you probably know our recommendations document for the use of multimedia resources. To summarise this document, and searching a general application to any authoring tool in the market, we’re going to list 5 tips to help you keep your content fit this summer:

  1. Choose carefully your images’ format

Use JPEG for photographic images, GIF for images with blocks of plain colours (e.g.: icons, cliparts…) and PNG for images with effects such as shines and shadows, or which require transparency. Although there are multiple programmes which can help you optimise the weight of your images, you can use the following values as a reference:

  • For JPEG format images:
Property Recommended value
Quality High (70%)
Resolution 72 PPI
  • For GIF format images:
Property Recommended value
Colours 256 or less
Palette Web
  • For PNG format images:
Property Recommended value
Depth 24 bits
Resolution 72 PPI

With these configurations you should get background images of less than 10 KB, and main images of less than 100 KB.

  1. Use MP4 format for your videos

If your content includes video, use MP4 format for working with just one file on different devices. The following configuration works well:

Property Recommended value
Codec H.264 (x264)
H.264 Profile Baseline
H.264 Level 3.1
Bitrate Video 1 Mb/s
Bitrate Audio Mono (if there is only one voice) / Stereo (if there is music and/or several voices)

With this configuration, each minute of video of your content should not exceed 8 MB.

  1. Adapt images and videos’ sizes to the spaces in which they are going to be displayed

Do not use videos or images bigger than the spaces they are going to take up in the screen. The user will not see your content better and its weight will increase unnecessarily.

  1. Use MP3 format for your audios

If your content includes audio, use MP3 format for working with just one file. The following configuration is usually the most appropriate:

Property Recommended value
Bitrate 128
Codec MP3
Codec Profile VBR (Variable Bit Rate)
Encoding lossy
Channels 2 (Stereo) if there is music or several voices / 1 (Mono) if there is only once voice
Sample Rate 44100 khz
Bit Float 16-bit

With this configuration, each minute of audio should not exceed 1 MB.

  1. Use PDF format for your additional documents

If your content includes downloadable or additional reading documents, use PDF format and you will not need to include the same document in different formats. PDF documents should be created with a resolution not higher than 72 PPI, which will allow a perfectly visualization on screen with an optimised weight. In fact, the average weight per page of your PDF documents should not exceed 50 KB when using this resolution.

Following these 5 simple recommendations, you’ll be able to make your content look its best for your users, encouraging its distribution, access, use, and performance.




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Fernando Diaz Gestal

Product Manager at King: With more than 12 years of experience in the IT industry, Fernando has orchestrated the development of Netex learning ecosystem from 2008 untill 2013. A bachelor in Computer Engineering and lots of masters, postgraduates and certifications in Product & Project Management made him to wear glasses and be the perfect translator of market needs into requirements, and technical aspects into market opportunities.