Infographics as a Learning Tool

Approximate production time:

  • 3 – 4 weeks

Background

Reading a long academic article is time-consuming and can easily overwhelm us. However, our students may have to read 5-10 articles each week as they are studying 4–6 courses each semester, that means thousands of words every week. There is a saying that “a picture is worth a thousand words,” but in reality, there is a fundamental difference between looking at a picture and reading. Pictures cannot replace words in terms of their ability to convey precise and concise information, that is why the fact that text still dominates the academic world.

But what if we could blend words, pictures, and design elements together, aim to simplify the long article into a few key points. Would it be the stepping stone that invites our student to understand the article?

Solutions

What is an infographic?

“Infographics are graphic visual representations of information, data, and knowledge. These graphics present complex information quickly and clearly, such as in signs, maps, journalism, technical writing, and education” (Newsom & Haynes, 2004, p. 236).

Why use an infographic?

Lamb and Johnson (2014) suggest there are five special purposes of using infographic:

  • organizing ideas in a useful way;
  • showing complex relationships in a visual way;
  • comparing information in an effective way;
  • making data meaningful with analogies, examples, and themes to transform data into information; and
  • telling a story to convey the ideas with visuals and words in an exciting way rather than using only words.

What is the process of turning an article into an infographic?

  1. Planning
    The subject expert has to break down the selected article into sections. Write down key ideas or keywords. If the infographic is for online learning and assessment, it may be a good idea to prepare some MC questions which related to those key ideas.
    planning
  2. Framework
    When the plan is ready, our team and the subject expert will team up together to formulate the design of the infographic. What is the relationship between each key points? Is there a narrative flow? Is it a linear or non-linear story?
  3. Visualize
    Once this framework is set, our team could handle the rest. We will figure out how to present the key points in a visually appealing way? What kind of graphics could best present the idea? e.g. charts, icons, symbol, map, photos etc. Of course, we will make sure all the images used for the infographic are copyright cleared.
  4. Design
    Our goal is to design the infographic that could attract the readers. We carefully coordinate graphics and text in such a way that they complement each other. Adjust the size of all elements to make sure the infographic is multi-device friendly. During the design process, we keep asking  –  Is the infographic clear for our students?
    design
  5. Publish
    Finally, our team could help you to publish the infographic. e.g. Moodle with the MC questions or any other platform to reach your reader.
    publish

The E-Learning team worked with Dr. Anthony Cheng to create the following infographic to present key ideas of the article of Critical multiculturalism: Hegemony, representation and the struggle for justice.

Critical Multiculturalism Hegemony, representation and the struggle for justice

Please let me know if you would like to engage your students with a beautifully designed infographic. You can contact Alan Wong by email alanwnl@hku.hk or phone 3917 0374.

Faculty Member

Dr. CHENG, Anthony K.L.

E-learning Services

  • Promoting Innovative Pedagogical Models
  • Providing Consultation Services

Reference

Kincheloe, J. L., & Steinberg, S. R. (1997). Critical multiculturalism: Hegemony, representation and the struggle for justice Changing Multiculturalism (pp. 83- 105). Buckingham: Open University.

Lamb, A., & Johnson, L. (2014). Infographics part 1: Invitations to inquiry. Teacher Librarian, 41(4), 54–58.

Newsom, D., & Haynes, J. (2004). Public relations writing: Form & style (7th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing.