We trainers and instructional designers imbibed with our mothers’ milk the dictum that text-on-a-slide is bad and visual elements more easily and lastingly create learning.  I see few references to research, however, illuminating the questions, “What sorts of images foster the most lasting retention of information?” and, “Does the mode of presentation mandate different use of images?” Surely, two images relating to the same learning point are not created equal for all learning purposes and approaches, but what research-based guidelines do we have for selecting the more impactful of the two?

I think these questions merit informed discussion, particularly given the risen popularity of infographics.  The latter are particularly interesting, in that they combine images and text.  Is this better than text alone?  To what extent are e-learners, in particular, reading words in infographics and, most importantly, retaining what they have read? Do “learning styles” come into play here?  In my own case, for example, I generally read the narrative and ignore most of the visual elements, at least on the first pass through a learning experience.

I would love to receive from you directions to research results shedding light on these matters.  I’ll also welcome opinions grounded in experience.


Twitter: @dennisafahey

LinkedIn: dennisafahey (Open Networker)