Every day is a day to learn. Some days we learn more than others. When on the path to becoming an instructional designer, the learning never stops. Article after article, chapter after chapter, and video after video all seem to say the same thing “learning is visual.”
Most people think of learning as something that only takes place in the brain, but it actually starts with the five senses. There is a student who had been labeled a “difficult” student, after learning about visual design and visual learning, I put my hypothesis to the test tonight.
I handed out packets of materials containing thousands of words, but I skipped right by him. I gave instructions to the class on how to proceed. I called him up to my desk and informed him that we were going to create a PowerPoint presentation based on one of the packets of information. He was a little caught off guard and completely confused as to why he was being singled out. I explained to him that he might be a “visual” learner and might do better using art to create learning materials instead of reading a dozen pages of information.
I sat with him and we chose a template together, then we chose the first image to use. I suggested what components we might need to include in the presentation and while I was speaking with another student he took control of the keyboard. A moment later he asked for the mouse. The next thing I knew he was focused and content as he sailed through the creation of his first visual learning module.
Above is one of the slides he created on his own. He added supplemental information on a few of the subsequent slides, and by the time he was done, we were both VERY proud of him. Sometimes visual design is all about the principles and rules of it, sometimes is just about the application of it. Sometimes we have to pay close attention to how our learners learn and try something new.
Dick, W., Carey, L., & Carey, J. O. (2015). The systematic design of instruction (8th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.
Dirksen, J. (2016). Design for how people learn (2nd ed.). Berkeley, CA: New Riders, Pearson.
Hagen, R. and Golombisky, K. (2017). White space is not your enemy (3rd ed.). Burlington, MA: Focal Press, Taylor & Francis Group
Kuhlmann, T. (2015). Essential Guide to Visual Thinking for E-Learning [Blog-Post]. Retrieved from http://blogs.articulate.com/rapid-elearning/essential-guide-visual-thinking-e-learning/