That old adage “Seeing is believing” is applicable in a lot of contexts, especially so in the context of eLearning. Here’s a statement that sums up the value of visualization aptly. Pictures are received information. We need no formal education to get the message. The message is instantaneous. Writing is perceived information. It takes time and specialized knowledge to decode the abstract symbols of language. —- Scott McCloud
One of the main objectives of an e-learning course is to make a strong impact on learners that facilities learning. One of the ways to achieve this objective is by using visuals effectively. E-learning visuals can be in the form of diagrams, charts, graphs, illustrations, drawings, photographs, or graphics.
Given below are a few points to show how visualizing content appropriately can positively impact the learning experience of learners:
- Visualization helps in organization, association, grouping, and construction of concepts.
- Visualization can be used for display of information by:
- Comparing two items through visuals – this is the quickest way for analysis. The picture speaks for itself.
- Multidimensional display of information – when there are many factors that need to be taken in at a glance, a visual display helps, more than text or tables ever could.
- As learners proceed along the course, visualization helps create mind maps. This can further help in presenting a structured presentation of content.
- Visualization provides “at a glance” learning.
A few tips on effective use of visuals:
- The visual design or the visualization should match the central idea or the objective of the course.
- Appropriate visualization includes the consistent placement of visual elements on-screen. It helps to give order and continuity to the learners i.e. it orients them to when the next piece of information should come.
- Visualization enhances the learners’ experience by helping make an emotional connect with the key message of the course.
- Lastly, visualization revolves around presenting text and its relevant media, which should be related to each other and guide learners’ understanding.
In conclusion, I’d like to add that visualizing content is not just another task on a course designer’s to-do list; rather it plays a critical role and has its own importance and place. Many times, we see that graphics or images are added to courses just because the client has provided them and expects them to be used. Irrelevant graphics that don’t really add much value to the course detract from the learning experience. Another common mistake is the use of too many visuals – this creates unnecessary ‘noise’ and hinders learning.
To conclude, visualization plays a key role in terms of learner engagement and transmitting the key message of the course.