How Infographics and Visual Communication Can Be the Perfect Tool for Educators
Human beings are visual people – this is something that is true almost from the moment we’re born. It certainly doesn’t change as we get older. We’ve written a lot in the past about how the key to marketing is to use this fact to your advantage, making a deep and meaningful connection with someone by emphasizing the visual properties above all else.
So if this is something that works for marketing, why are we to assume that this type of visual emphasis has no place in the classroom?
Think about it – when kids are in their early years of elementary materials, visual collateral is everywhere. All of the fundamental concepts we need in those years – from our ability to tell time to the ways in which we interact with people – often happen visually first and foremost.
Why, then, does that stop as we progress through the higher grades?
A developmental molecular biologist named John Medina once wrote that vision tends to trump all of our other senses. His argument is that people need to be aware of the “incredible inefficiency” of text-based images and the incredible effect that images can have on the right audience.
A format like an Infographic may have begun life as a marketing tool… but it certainly doesn’t have to end there. If you can get a B2C or B2B audience to buy into high-level concepts by way of an attractive piece of collateral like that, why shouldn’t you be doing the same thing in elementary school, middle school, high school and beyond?
The answer is simple: you can be and you should be for a wide range of different reasons that are more than worth exploring.
The Nexus Between Education and Visual Learning
To better understand how Infographics, flyers and other forms of visual communication can be applied to an educational setting, you first need to understand a little bit more about how people learn in the first place.
According to the experts at FamilyEducation.com, there are three main types of learning styles that most students have: auditory, visual and kinesthetic. One study revealed that between 20 and 30% of all school-aged kids learn primarily by remembering things they hear – these kids excel in a lecture-based setting, for example. A massive 40% of those kids work best when they’re recalling the things that they’ve either seen or read.
The remaining tend to use their fingers in some way to help them remember what they’re experiencing – if you’ve ever known someone who needs to run their fingers along the text in a book as they read, you’ve met someone that is a kinesthetic learner.
Everyone learns in their own unique way and we all develop our own styles and techniques for remembering things over time. But studies like that one really go a long way towards showing just how critical visual communication is during our early, formative years.
Because of that, it would almost be a missed opportunity not to rely heavily on visual communication techniques like Infographics or presentations if you’re an educator.
But if a picture is worth a thousand words, it may be worth even more in a setting as important as a classroom. Think about all of the potential applications of taking a single complicated, text-based lesson and transposing it onto visual material:
- You can use visual materials like images and videos to not only teach complicated concepts but also demonstrate them in a way that a paragraph in a textbook never could.
- You can use these materials to teach kids how to make their own concept maps, thus furthering their own critical thinking skills and their abilities to grasp these concepts on their own.
- You can turn the classroom into a much more active experience regardless of the number of students by allowing them to show exactly what they’ve learned and retained through visual imagery.
- You can also use these same materials to teach visual literacy, something that is only going to become more important as kids graduate and move on into the workforce over the next decade.
There’s a reason why most content on the Internet is expected to be visual in nature in the not-too-distant future and services like Uscreen is only going to get more important. But they don’t have to be important only when we’re trying to sell someone something. They can and should be important when we’re trying to teach them something, too.
Visual Learning is Quality Learning
Human beings are visual creatures – they always have been, they always will be. But especially in the modern era, it’s important to see this as an opportunity instead of a disadvantage – particularly if you’re an educator.
Because everyone learns in their own specific ways, you need to do whatever you can to support that. The “one size fits all” approach to education simply won’t work anymore. But now, thanks to tools like Visme (which I founded in part to help people communicate better), you don’t need to be an educator and a graphic designer in order to create the high-quality collateral that your kids truly need.
You just need to be an educator. It doesn’t have to be much more complicated than that.
You can create beautiful interactive presentations, reports and other customized visual learning tools to help kids excel in a specific academic area. With hundreds of beautiful pre-made templates and millions of professional images to choose from, you can also get to this point in a fraction of the time (and cost) that it used to take.
The end result is a situation where everyone wins – you can wield the full power of visual communication to your advantage, you can create customized plans and other materials that play towards your student’s unique strengths and you can help provide every child with a better, more holistic education at such an important part in their lives.
This is why visual communication isn’t just a great tool for educators – it may very well be the perfect tool that they’ve been looking for.
About the Author
Payman Taei is the founder of Visme, an easy-to-use online tool to create engaging presentations, infographics, and other forms of visual content. He is also the founder of HindSite Interactive, an award-winning Maryland digital agency specializing in website design, user experience, and web app development.