These Suggestions Will Help You Make Awesome Images That Really Help Students Learn
Have you ever used infographics with your students? Chances are you have without even realizing it. Infographics are simply visuals used to represent information or data. We often see infographics used to present many different statistics in an easy-to-digest format by using charts, graphs, and other visual representations of numbers.
The reason they’re so popular is because they’re an effective teaching tool. You probably know that 65 percent of people are visual learners, so doesn’t it make sense to teach with visuals?
By creating an infographic handout, you can reinforce course concepts and make it easier for students to remember important sets of data. You can also use infographics as an online teaching tool if you have a classroom blog.
When the majority of your students are visual learners, infographics make studying easier. Here is a brief guide to helping you get started with teaching with infographics.
How to Create Effective Infographics
There are many ways to create an effective infographic, but there are many more ways to create one that’s more confusing than it is helpful. Start with these tips:
- Keep it simple. The idea of infographics is to make learning easier, so avoid overcrowding your visuals. For example, a pie chart might have 2-5 elements. Any more than that, and it can become more confusing than helpful, and the data might be better represented in a different type of graph. Don’t be afraid to use whitespace, either. If you cram too many points together, it can appear overwhelming, and students may not even take the effort to look through it.
- Create visual metaphors. You don’t have to stick with the old charts you learned in school. Feel free to get creative. For example, if your stat is “1 in 4 people,” then your visual could show four stick figures with one highlighted. However, avoid getting overly creative to the point where your visuals only make sense to a select few people. Anyone should be able to look at your visuals and see what you’re trying to represent. The infographic on this web page provides a nice example of this technique.
- Incorporate color to provide emphasis. Color is a powerful tool, and you can use it in your infographics to draw the eyes to important points. For example, you might present one important set of data you want students to remember in a contrasting color from your other visuals. Notice in the infographic on this web page how the stat for 72% sticks out because the graph is a different color than the rest of the infographic. Choose colors opposite the color wheel for contrast, such as blue and orange. For points you want to differentiate but don’t particularly want to stick out, choose adjacent colors, such as blue and purple.
- Be selective about the charts you use. One of the biggest mistakes people make with infographics is choosing to use a chart that doesn’t represent their data well. For example, don’t use a pie chart if you’re not representing pieces of a whole (added up, your data should equal 100). It’s also tough to represent change from one pie chart to another, so you might use a stacked bar chart instead.
- Think about the flow. How does one point on the infographic relate to another? Think about how you can break up sections into chunks to make the content easier to learn. Use visual elements like boxes or different background colors to identify each section.
- Remember: It’s not necessarily about the graphs and charts. More than half of the most shared infographics don’t actually show data visualization. It’s not necessarily about numerical values; it’s about turning the material visual, no matter the lesson. Here's a good example of this. So even if you’re not teaching using statistics, you can still create infographics to make learning more fun.
Tools to Use
If you’re not a particularly artistic person, fear not! There are numerous online infographic tools that can help you get started. Try these:
- Piktochart: Piktochart provides easy templates to help turn your lessons visual. You can start for free and then upgrade to an educational account for $39.99 for 12 months.
- Ease.ly: Easel.ly boasts 900,000 users who have created over 2 million infographics. Get started with a free account to access numerous templates, or upgrade for more images, fonts, and more for just $3 per month.
- Infogr.am: Infogr.am gets you started with templates, allows you to add your data, and then makes it easy to share and generate embed codes. You can also download your work to make sharing in the classroom easy. Try it out on their free plan, and then upgrade for $19 per month.
- Visme.co: Visme.co is for presentations, infogrpahics, reports, and more. Start with a template, and then add and customize every element. You can publish and share online or download for personal use. Visme.co features privacy settings so that you remain in complete control of your classroom content. Try it for free, and if you like it, premium features are just $16 per month.
- Canva.com: We just added this new 3 Minute TOOL-torial to our growing set of introductory tutorials. Canva is an excellent free graphics app for creating a variety of formats, including infographics. – KW 9/20/16
And remember, tools like these are also excellent for student use!