Show It, Don't Say It! An Interactive Post

Words don’t always get the job done. I know—shocking to hear from a professional writer and editor, but true! Here’s an example. Let’s say you’re asked to compare the size of an Airbus A380-800 to three other aircraft.

You could get the information you need by reviewing the statistics all laid out in this handy table.

 One option for getting information

One option for getting information

Or, you could click the exercise below, which I developed in response to an Articulate E-learning Challenge.

The answer is obvious.

When learners are presented with the table, they have to do all sorts of mental gymnastics, conjuring up what each of the four planes might look like, and then trying to mentally assign three different dimensions to them. At that point, they haven’t even begun what is asked of them: compare each plane’s size to the Airbus.

But by applying the graphic treatment to our lesson, our learners skip those steps altogether, freeing their brain power up to absorb the critical concept of relativity.

With the evolution of accessible authoring software like Articulate 360, online learning has thankfully broken away from its text-heavy roots. For me, text-to-picture conversion is not easy. I’m a wordsmith, not a graphic designer. But even the simplest design can be “worth 1,000 words” when it comes to getting your point across.

One of my favorites:

 This image is courtesy of innovatorsforpurpose.org.

This image is courtesy of innovatorsforpurpose.org.

Do you have a good example where you were able to slice through the wordiness and sum it up graphically? Please share!