"The growth in the internet, 24-hour television, and mobile phones means that we now receive five times as much information every day as we did in 1986," states The Telegraph news correspondent Richard Alleyne in a report on the unique circumstances of the current information age."
There is a massive flow of content being churned out each day by the billions of people inhabiting this world, so it's no surprise we often feel the side effects of information overload. And with five times more material being poured into our streams of consciousness, we must now filter out the pertinent information from the rubble. While our post-modern brains have been hard-wired to process this excess amount of content, it may come to a surprise that people only remember 20% of what they read. On the other hand, we tend to recall at least 80% of what we see and do. So according to most medical journals, your vision trumps all other senses. Looks like there's a clear winner when it comes to intuitive information processing.
"So, why should I care?"
As eLearning developers, learner information retention should be our top priority. Realistically, due to the considerable amount of content out there in the world, people often think it's too difficult to learn things. Spending large chunks of time on eLearning courses can undoubtedly become tedious, so why not utilize a surefire way to get your point across? We've all heard of the concept, "A picture is worth a thousand words," but what about a thousand memories? When words can only take us so far, images have the power to change the way we recall information, also known as visual mnemonics. And when it comes to eLearning, effective communication is key. Even Ruth Clark, a leader in the instructional technology field, argues that words and pictures should work together to create a seamless conceptual image. "The rationale for our recommendation is that people are more likely to understand material when they can engage in active learning," Clark clarifies.
The Power of an Infographic
When referring to visuals, we aren't just talking about stock images of business partners shaking hands at a cafe... we're talking about maps, diagrams, charts, illustrations, and information graphics! If you haven't heard of the term infographic before, don't worry. While various forms of information graphics have been around since ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics, modern infographics are a relatively recent undertaking. These graphical representations of information and data can be altered in such a way that becomes visually appealing to the eLearner. Just like analogies can connect readers with previously untapped knowledge, infographics are designed to relay messages with the user in mind. Consider the statistic I mentioned earlier is from NeoMam Studios. Can you state what percentage of information read people tend to remember? Most likely not. However, if I inserted a graphic that creatively demonstrated this message, you would be 80% more likely to remember this number.
Check out NeoMam Studio's nifty interactive infographic on memory capacity!
One tip to keep in mind is that different designers have different strategies when it comes to making infographics. A smart jumping-off point might be to gather the key information first before messing with fancy designs. For some awesome infographic ideas check out Hubspot's list of the Best Infographics of 2015.
How to Create Your Own Infographic
So, you've got your key concepts written down and you're ready to rock! But what if you're unfamiliar with designing compelling graphics? Not to fear, there are plenty of templates out there to get you well on your way. Why not try Piktochart, Venngage, or envatomarket's graphicriver templates! The possibilities are endless.
Call for comments
- Do you link to read articles that contain infographic? Do you think it helps you understand and remember the content?
- Have you ever used or considered using an infographic in a learning context? In a live course on in eLearning? Why or why not?