Digital Learning: Power of Visual Communication

Author: Pankaj Kumar Saxena

Bullet points or well-edited running content without graphics can be very boring. Graphics are a powerful way to make sense of information in today's world. Media plays a vital role in the Learning industry. Imagine what the experience would be like, if you eliminate the graphics from Digital Learning!

Learning has to be engaging and effective and for that, we need to use modalities and strategies that work for the learner. For example, most learners are either visual or kinesthetic, thus a brain-friendly environment will lean heavily on teaching methods that include visuals, models, or hands-on activities.

Studies show that about 98% of all incoming information to the brain comes through the senses. Add to that the fact that over 87% of the learners in the classroom prefer to learn by visual and tactile means, and you have a recipe for failure if the primary methods of teaching are auditory.

There are so many great Websites that encourage and teach higher-level thinking that we do an injustice to our students if we do not lead them there. Using media is the key to moving students to higher-level thinking. Our students are already familiar with using the Internet and many of the software programs required to reach such higher-level thinking skills as creativity, problem-solving, comparison and contrast, and evaluation. We need to lead them to the best of the best in terms of media and to provide feedback as they work. Real world applications, such as the physics software that explores how to design amusement park rides utilizing g-forces without damaging the body, are exciting and fun, but they also lead students into problem-solving and decision making.

In the process of the evolution of the learning industry, natural links between media and communication have been developed.

This is an age of cultural transition with the blossoming of new communication technologies: video, computers, the Internet, video conferencing, cell phones, WBT, CBT, Satellite Learning, etc. all of which are merging into one large network that can reach anyone anywhere. More than just receivers of information, people are producers, gaining access to new technologies to communicate messages of their own. The term "new media" is gradually being dissociated from "mass media" as we expand from simply "media by the few for the many" to "media by the many for the many". People are gaining new voices, new ways of communicating with the world, and redefining the "communities" to which they belong.

Too many graphics? Graphics are wonderful, abundant, and fun to use. They can spice up learning, and communication collaterals like fliers, newsletters, and posters. Yet too many graphics on a composition can make it hard for the reader to concentrate on what the key message of the content is.

The problem of having too much graphics is loss of message. Our own efforts to control our selections, combined with the efforts of large corporations to channel our choices, pose new challenges for people who know that democratic action depends on trustworthy communication.

We have never had more stuff to hear, see, scan, play, select, and view. We've never had more channels, and we're about to get so many more.

Big media Gurus and Graphic learning experts like to assure the users that we have all the information we need, and all the voice we want. And so, we don't need any regulations that put limits on media strategy. How do we walk the fine line between the two?

A picture really is worth a thousand words but we can't really replace a thousand words with a picture.

Learn the art and science and tips and tricks for choosing the right degree of graphics and creativity as per the requirements. Select the right piece of clip art, photograph, audio visual, and the right format for your content/subject. Illustrate newsletters, Web pages, brochures, and presentations more effectively.

There are some basics that are always important for effective design.

  • Disclaimer
  • Consistency
  • Colors
  • Type/Fonts
  • Layout
  • Priority
  • Space
  • Borders
  • Multiple Layouts
  • Copyright Stock Illustrations or Photos
  • Proofreading

A feedback from a non-media/graphic person most of the times plays a vital role in judging the right blends. In most cases, eventually, end users decide whether a piece of work is worth watching and viewing. We need to keep in mind the end users' demographics: their age group, academic background, geographic location etc.

Although media production is considered to be a time consuming, difficult, and expensive process, e-learning production houses need to integrate media literacy and media production into their product in order to deliver engaging and powerful experiences. Rather than just being technical or peripheral, media production must be simple and central to the learning process.