-By Ashley Canning, Instructional Designer
As I thought about this week’s blog post, I decided what better way to present information on infographics than by creating an infographic? For a graphical representation of the information presented below, click the image above to view my infographic on infographics.
What is an Infographic?
An infographic is a graphical representation of information and/or data that helps to present hard-to-grasp concepts in a way that is easy to understand. This post focuses on reasons to use infographics, various ways they can be used, as well as tools for creating them.
Why Use Infographics?
Have you ever remembered a piece of textual information by picturing an image that appeared along side the text you read? Infographics have a similar effect. When reading text, it’s easy to become distracted or suffer from information overload. Conveying the same information through infographics can help minimize these effects by simplifying difficult concepts and making data more meaningful. Studies have also demonstrated that viewing graphical representations of information decreases learning time and increases retention (think about our example of recalling information thanks to a corresponding image). Finally, according to experts, 65% of the population is made up of visual learners. By presenting information in a visual way we are able to engage our visual learners.
Ways to Use Infographics
Infographics can be used in a variety of ways. Since most tools include the ability to build graphs within the tool, it is no surprise that infographics are commonly used to display statistical data. You can also use an infographic to illustrate a timeline or describe a process, compare and contrast various topics, or create an informational poster.
While instructor-created infographics provide students with an opportunity to visualize concepts, students can also create infographics to demonstrate mastery of a topic.
Infographic Creation Tools
There are a variety of infographic creators available. While doing my research, I focused on three that I found to be some of the most user-friendly: Piktochart, Venngage, and Easel.ly. All three tools offer free or fee-based options; provide the option to use templates; have the ability to create various graphs; include a variety of images and icons along with the ability to upload your own images; and allow you to download and share your finished product. All three also have their own blogs, which offer tips and ideas on using infographics. A few of the different features for each tool are described below.
I created the infographic above using one of my favorite infographic tools, Piktochart. In addition to its blog, Piktochart offers support and how-to instructions along with a guided tour, which is available at the click of a button inside of the infographic creation tool. Piktochart also offers a presentation mode feature, which turns your infographic into a slide show by presenting each block within your infographic as an individual slide. For an example of how this works, click the infographic image at the beginning of this post and select Presentation Mode.
Venngage is another of my favorite infographic tools. It offers support and how-to instructions and videos along with great tutorial templates. These templates walk you through basic tasks like adding, moving, and resizing objects in your infographic. Venngage also offers a pictogram creation tool, which lets you easily convey numbers through the use of icon groups. Like the others, Venngage also has its own blog. One downside of Venngage is that the free version only allows you to save five infographics at once.
As the name indicates, Easel.ly is another easy-to-use infographic creator. It offers an educational and how-to blog along with contextual tips available inside the infographic creation tool. It also allows you to edit and reuse public infographics. A relatively new feature to Easel.ly is group-sharing, which allows you to share infographics among group members.
Want to check out some other tools? Check out this Edudemic article on 10 Fun Tools to Easily Make Your Own Infographics.
Closing Thoughts and Tips
No matter which tool you use when creating infographics, always remember to examine your topic and think about the best way to present it (graphs, timeline, combination, etc.). Keep in mind the old adage “don’t use technology just for the sake of using technology.” The key is using an infographic to present a topic in a well-organized manner that sticks with the viewers. I also find that it helps to draw a rough layout of my infographic idea on paper before diving into one of the tools. If you’re struggling with a layout, check out the templates that each tool has to offer or look at others’ pictographs online to get some ideas.
Have you used infographics in the past? If so, share your experiences by leaving us a comment!
References Bradford, W.C. (2004). Reaching the Visual Learner: Teaching Property Through Art. The Law Teacher, 11. Retrieved from http://ssrn.com/abstract=587201 Kouyoumdjian, H. (2012). Learning Through Visuals Visual imagery in the classroom. Psychology Today. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/get-psyched/201207/learning-through-visuals Lepi, K. (2012). 10 Fun tools to Easily Make Your Own Infographics. Edudemic. Retrieved from http://www.edudemic.com/diy-infographics/ Ways to Teach Using Infographics. (2013). Educational Technology and Mobile Learning. Retrieved from http://www.educatorstechnology.com/2013/02/ways-to-teach-using-infographics.html