A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words: Infographics in Learning & Development
Information graphics or infographics are visual representations of information, data or knowledge that convey ideas in a complete visual snapshot, like the one to the right that describes a survey of instructional designers. Infographics gained popularity in news media and became so enmeshed that a new field of study, data journalism, evolved.
There are also many reasons to use infographics in learning environments. Not only do they offer immediate appeal to visual learners, they are a lifeboat in a sea of information overload, allowing viewers to quickly grasp complex information in a visual, bite-sized chunk. Infographics can engage learners at the beginning of training by quickly communicating key statistics, trends, or issues that drive the need for training. For example, if you are conducting a workshop on safety, you might first present an infographic on accident frequency to gain attention and demonstrate the need for training. Infographics can “prime the pump” prior to learning and serve as an advance organizer.
Although the process of spinning words and data into visual images may sound complex, there’s no need to call on Rumplestiltskin, as there are several tools that make the process fairly simple. Here is a quick overview of a number of tools.
When developing an infographic, as with any knowledge component, begin by considering your audience and their needs. Next, specify your objective; identify the purpose of your infographic and the outcome you hope to achieve. The best infographics focus on only one concept or process. Consider what will your learners be able to know or do after using the infographic and how and where it will fit with your broader training or learning component.
How else might you use infographics in learning and development?
What makes an effective infographic?