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Best Practices of Visualization for an E-learning course

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Best Practices of Visualization for an E-learning course

Title: Visualization in an eLearning course 

“Something is happening. We are becoming a visually mediated society. For many, understanding of the world is being accomplished, not through words, but by reading images.” – Paul Martin Lester, “Syntactic Theory of Visual Communication”

The beautiful line correctly denotes the importance of visualization in an eLearning course. Another principle, i.e., the Multimedia principle correctly states that – “People learn more deeply from words and pictures than from words alone”. Again, studies show that people remember 10% of what they hear, 20% of what they read, and 80% of what they see and do”. Thus, you cannot ignore the significance of visualization in an eLearning course.

What is Visualization? 

Visualization can be better termed as the visual representation of data (or any eLearning content) to reinforce human cognition. The representations combine many forms such as illustration, color, text, etc. In context of visualization, the multimedia principle further states that a learner learns more when visuals are combined with words than words alone. Furthermore, it is true that the human brain deciphers image elements at a faster rate than language.

How Much to Use? 

Should the whole content be of visuals only? Then, where will the auditory and kinesthetic learners go? It is to be remembered that overuse of visuals and their underuse – both have their own adverse effects. And, to be precise, they will fail to deliver the potential of graphics to support learning. Thus, there should be a balance between visual and non-visual content. We need to remember that not all graphics are equally effective. But there are some visuals that can aggravate learning. One such example cited here is, consider an eLearning course where there is no audio, and you want to show process flow animation with only visuals – here visuals alone will not be effective

How to Visualize the E-learning Content?

Here is a quick 5 step process to follow while visualizing eLearning content:

  1. Start with rough visualization at the initial or the content comprehension stage. If required, make notes for future references.
  2. Start or add visuals while developing the storyboard.
  3. Have the liberty to visualize the text with imagery, diagrams, charts, and graphs while developing the storyboard.
  4. Strike a balance between text and visuals. Make sure that there is no cognitive load.
  5. And, if there is a split attention effect, i.e., if a same visual is used to present various types of information within the same display, reverse the visual so used if necessary.

What are the Best Practices to Follow for Visualization?

Visuals should make an emotional connect with the key message in the eLearning content. Don’t use visuals for the sake of the beautifying the screen. Rather, use it to address the learning intent given in the course.

Another point to ponder here is the placement of visuals. Where should we place the visual? It would be better, if we place the visual near the text content. It helps give order and continuity to learners i.e., it orients them to when the next piece of information should come. Hope this content is sufficed to share a brief idea about visualization eLearning content. Thus, visualization is a tool which requires judicious use to enable the maximum benefit to eLearning content.

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