From ages we have been exposed to many learning theories that propose that we learn by what we see, what we hear and what we do. All these techniques/approaches support learning and are important. When it comes to the question of what we see, visuals catch our attention first. Pictures are what get into our mind and stay there for a really long time. Researchers have also found that visuals play a major part in recognizing and recollecting and hence improving learning too. Most importantly, graphics and visuals make the learning very interesting and attractive.
We do know that graphics are important, but we should also know to what extent they should be incorporated into learning. This depends on the complexity of the subject. The challenge lies in connecting the content and the graphics seamlessly.
We shall now see the importance of graphics in eLearning:
- Visuals teach better.
- They help learners to connect better to the scenarios during narrations.
- The use of relevant visuals holds the attention of the learner till the end of the course.
- They also help learners to think and use their imagination better.
- They help in providing the transfer of learning in less time.
- They are useful in illustrating the importance of specific data by highlighting it.
- Graphics build pre-knowledge for learners even before reading the content.
- Concepts involving complex designs and processes can be delivered effectively through graphics.
- Useful graphics increase learner motivation and add interest.
- They are very helpful in representing charts, diagrams, graphs etc.
- They make comparisons in data very easy and understandable.
- Screen captures are a powerful way to teach something.
Apart from the above advantages, it is important to keep in mind that there should be relevance and appropriateness for the graphics used. The text and the graphics should complement each other and have to be well synchronized.
Graphics/visuals that do little to facilitate learning or which are misleading should be avoided. Graphics should be used only to enhance learning – they should not leave the learner in a perplexed state after the taking the course. Sometimes, by using appropriate graphics, you can cut down on the content, hence graphics also help cut down on the localization costs for the businesses. This also provides a good business reason to use graphics.
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