How can you make your information more visual?

Related to my last post, I wanted to share some thoughts after mulling over my recent eLearning Design course. I was given lots of ideas from the course for how to make my eLearning more engaging, and so many of the points related to presentation and teaching slides. I don’t know if there are librarians reading this who also design eLearning, but I know the majority will be using slides to support their presentations and workshops, so I’ll talk about both.

One of the key messages I took was make your information as visual as possible. E-learning is a visual medium – it doesn’t get more visual than sitting in front of a screen. And humans take in visual information more quickly than text. Since slides should support your presentation, not duplicate it word-for-word on a slide, getting information across in a visual way is a useful technique. You could use include charts and graphs, flow-diagrams, images, etc. It’s quite fun to do, to take a block of bullet points and turn them into something visual.

It’s something I’ve tried to incorporate in recent induction slides. I’ve been looking for opportunities to try out things I learned on the course.

I wanted to use the slides as handouts (my previously fairly abstract slides haven’t made good handouts, but people still requested them) so I wanted to make sure the information was there but not in tiny, too-small-to-see font. So I tried wherever possible to represent the information in a visual way. I had to put together my presentation quite quickly, so I saved time by reusing a colleague’s slides from another induction so I knew all the content was there, and spent my time thinking “how can I make this more visual”?

My favourite example from my induction slides, is from this:

  • Bibliographic databases
    • national subscriptions e.g. Medline, PsycInfo, BNI
    • local subscriptions e.g. PsycArticles, Internurse
  • Journals
  • CPD resources e.g. Royal Marsden Nursing Manual
  • Systematic Reviews e.g. Cochrane Library
  • Point of Care tools e.g. Dynamed
  • Google Scholar
  • And more….

To this:

Laptop imageI downloaded the laptop and the icons from the E-learning Heroes community. There are lots of resources there for eLearning but also for PowerPoint. It’s great to not only get ideas from other people, but to be able to download and use these resources really saves time and helps when you’re not particularly creative (like me). Without working on eLearning I would never have thought to do something like this for a PowerPoint. I know I still have more to learn, but I’m excited to be challenging myself.

I don’t know if it actually made a difference, but I was certainly happier presenting from something like this than a bunch of text and bullet points.

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