Skip to content

On communicating visually

As I’ve stated, I’m trying to make greater use of visuals. Hard to make sense of the value of visuals with poorly presented articles like this: Why communicate visually. Some sloppy research on the old “10% hear, 20% read, 80% do” – this time attributed to Bruner. Will Thalheimer debunks/questions the validity of this claim. This automatically calls into question related statements in the article (not cited properly) about the prominence of visuals in learning and retention. I don’t trust the author. But then I have to ask myself, why I want to use images/visuals. To increase effectiveness of learners who take a course I teach? To improve my ability to communicate? What can visuals do that text can’t? And where is the research that supports that claim?


  1. Mike Gambale wrote:

    I think the term visual learner is a term used by people who are not adept in the field of information visualization. This happens frequently for those that want to establish some trend so they may capitalize on the opportunity to make money or fame.

    There is no argument that visuals are important but if there is discussion about visuals in learning then all aspects of our senses have to be discussed. After all the term visual learner completely ignores those who are blind that can learn very well. As Ware(2004) states “The brain is clearly not an undifferentiated mass;it is more like a collection of highly specialized parallel processing machines with high-bandwidth connections”(Ware, 2004, pg 11). So just solely looking at the term visual learner is a mistake because our mind is much more complicated and capable of learning not just through images but the entire experience.

    Only other thing I will add is that there are aspects beyond our four senses that help us learn. These aspects include the ability of multi-sensory input to create an emotional connection and help strengthen the experience of a person’s learning experience beyond looking at a computer screen. While this is not an exact science per say elements of Usability and the field of User Experience can help guide a e-learning course creator to this emotional connection.

    Ware, Colin (2004). Information Visualization:Perception for Design. San Francisco:Elsevier


    Friday, February 20, 2009 at 8:29 am | Permalink
  2. His thinking has made me re-read this interesting article:
    Screen Becoming Literate, by Kevin Kelly. The New York Times. November 21, 2008.

    Saturday, February 21, 2009 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

One Trackback/Pingback

  1. x28’s new Blog » Blog Archive » What can visuals do on Thursday, February 19, 2009 at 5:26 pm

    [...] Siemens asks “What can visuals do that text can’t?”, and Dave Gray just presented such a [...]