We live in a world with a vast amount of data and information around us. As learning professionals, we are often called upon to take some of this information and present it in a way that is readily and easily comprehensible. But how do we take this wealth of information and effectively simplify and present it in an informative and engaging way? One way to do it is with infographics.
Infographics are graphic visual representations of information that present complex information quickly and clearly. They use text, graphs, and icons in an engaging layout to highlight key data and concepts. The best way to explain how infographics support learning is with examples.
These infographics demonstrate three ways infographics boost learning. You can easily tell what the topic is about because the title is catchy and prominent. As you can see from the examples, there are multiples ways to present the information as long as the infographic is visually engaging.
The first way infographics enhance learning is through the use of icons and text to make complex concepts easier to understand. Our brains process text-based and graphic information in different areas. Text is processed in the language area while graphics, such as icons, are processed in the neocortex/frontal lobe where executive functions are also processed. By combining these two modalities (text and iconography), learners’ brains can approach the content from two modalities: the text/language model and the icon/visual model. This dual approach makes complex concepts easier to understand as each modality complements the other.
The second way infographics support learning is that learners can scan the content and get a quick overview. This is also known as “chunking.” The brain naturally takes a large amount of data and breaks it down into smaller sections in order to build a conceptual framework. By quickly scanning this infographic, learners can tell that there are three main sections of content and what the topic is. Since there is only limited text, they can quickly read key information and understand the major points of the infographic.
The third way infographics help learners is through displaying data in multiple modalities to increase retention. People have preferred modalities of learning information: some people like looking at numbers while others understand graphs better. There is no one way that is right or particularly better. It is an effective learning design to incorporate multiple modalities so you can better align with the multiple preferences of your learners.
Now that you’ve read this article, review the infographics again and reflect on this question:
- How did these infographic examples boost your learning about infographics?
Article by Johnny Hamilton
Johnny Hamilton recently won a Brandon Hall Silver award for Best Advance in Leadership Simulation Tools and is eLearning Magazine’s 2016 Learning Champion award winner as a High Performer for his “outstanding contributions to the learning industry."