Infographics can be incredibly effective educational tools, thanks to their ability to break complex information into easy-to-understand components and to make even dense data engaging. Whether you want to teach your audience about the education industry or you want to use visual content as a teaching tool, infographics are the ideal solution. Discover why visual content is so effective in an educational context and learn how to design and use infographics for education.
Why Infographics Are So Effective in Educational Contexts
Image via Flickr by US Department of Education
No matter what type of information you want to teach, there’s a good chance that written or verbal instruction alone won’t get your message across. After all, not everyone can process language efficiently, and the average person is more apt to forget written or verbal communication than visual information. In fact, most people retain just 10 percent of what they hear and 20 percent of what they read, while they remember 80 percent of what they see.
In addition, most people can make sense of visual material much faster than they can absorb what they hear or read. The average person can process visual content 60,000 times faster than other types of content. Since approximately 65 percent of people are visual learners, adding image-based components to your teaching materials is a smart choice.
Infographics often prove so effective in educational contexts because they use imagery to highlight, explain, or enhance text-based information. They have the unique ability to capture attention, convey information, and encourage data retention despite their complex nature. That means infographics can be ideal for teaching the basics of complicated processes or breaking down high-level data for all types of audiences.
How to Use Infographics for Teaching and Education
You can use this type of visual content to teach your audience no matter what topic serves as the focus of your infographic. Whether you want to explore education-specific themes or focus on virtually any other industry, you can use infographics to accomplish these goals:
Illustrate a Historical Timeline
Infographics are ideal for highlighting key events throughout a historical period, helping students understand how events connect to and influence each other, or even rethinking the most important events of a particular era. To make this infographic-style as effective as possible, narrow down the time period or the topic substantially. Doing so will keep the content focused and prevent it from being overly detailed or difficult to follow.
Highlight Important Statistics
Statistics can say a lot about a subject, but figures alone don’t always make for the most compelling reading material. Instead, adding graphics and short text explanations can make a string of numbers much easier to understand and remember. A data-heavy infographic can also offer your audience insight into a high-level topic and help you position yourself as an authority on the subject.
Increase Awareness of an Issue
Encouraging change isn’t always easy, but an eye-catching infographic can educate your audience about an important issue while teaching them how and why to take action. This type of infographic is most effective when it concludes with a strong call to action (CTA) that tells your audience exactly what to do next.
Provide Helpful Tips
Infographics can be great platforms for educating your audience about processes or for helping viewers work through multifaceted problems. This kind of visual content tends to work best when it brings key issues to your audience’s attention and then provides tips for overcoming the related effects.
Offer Step-by-step Instructions
Infographics can also teach your audience how to complete a complex procedure. Pair each step with a related graphic to help your audience identify the goal of each stage and understand how to handle it efficiently.
Generate Interest for an Event
Whether you’re planning a one-time occasion or an annual happening, infographics can help your audience learn about events. Use the combination of visual and text elements to showcase key statistics about attendees or performers, share details about exciting highlights, or inform your audience how to get the most out of the event.
How to Put Infographics to Work in the Classroom
Infographics can be excellent teaching tools, whether you want to use them to teach your class or you want students to develop their own for a graded project. From learning activities to creative assignments, find out how to put infographics to work in your classroom.
Incorporate Infographics Into Learning Activities
Introducing your class to examples of great infographics is a smart way to use visual content in your lesson plans. Not only can this type of visual content increase student interest and engagement, but infographics can also help students learn about important topics ranging from history and literature to math and science. Depending on the focus of your classroom and the level of your students, you could use infographics in a number of learning activities.
- Try introducing a new module by using an eye-catching infographic to convey the basics or generate interest.
- Encourage students to read statistics, interpret data, and draw conclusions from an infographic.
- Rather than having students read a textbook passage or a news article, use an infographic to start a discussion or lead a classroom debate.
Use Infographics in Creative Assignments
Sourcing premade infographics to enhance learning activities isn’t the only way to use this visual content in the classroom. You can also encourage students to develop their own infographics. To make the most of this creative assignment, try one of these strategies:
- Have students chart the main events of a historic era.
- Encourage students to analyze how a topic of their choosing has evolved over time.
- Ask students to develop an infographic to accompany a written research project.
- Prompt students to share their understanding of a process with a step-by-step guide.
How to Design Infographics for Education
Whether you have beginner-level or advanced design skills, you can create infographics for education. Take a closer look at the process, whether you want to try a do-it-yourself approach or you’d rather work with a professional team.
Choose a Topic
First, you’ll need to choose a topic for your infographic. Take care to choose a focus area that will resonate with your audience, whether that’s your seventh-grade classroom, the students taking your online course, or your company’s client base. To choose an appropriate topic, consider recent news in your industry, key findings you’ve collected, or an important issue in your niche.
For additional inspiration, try browsing roundups of great education infographics. Take care not to repeat a topic that another educator or brand has already covered. Naturally, your content won’t have as great of an impact if it isn’t original.
Do the Research
Next, do the research necessary to create your infographic. If you’re telling a story about a subject that’s close to home, such as your own classroom or school, you may have all the data you need at your fingertips. In that case, your research may be as straightforward as analyzing numbers and interpreting statistics in interesting ways.
If you’re telling a story with a wider reach, however, you’ll need external data sources. Try some of these publicly available resources:
- Google Public Data Explorer: This resource includes datasets from over 100 providers, including the World Trade Organization, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and many more.
- Data.gov: This resource offers all open data from the United States government, including numerous education-related datasets.
- HealthData.gov: This U.S. Department of Health & Human Resources website offers health-related datasets at the national, state, and community levels.
- World Factbook: This Central Intelligence Agency resource provides data on the people, government, and culture of nations and territories around the globe.
Sketch the Story
Once you’ve done the research and collected the data, you can begin to envision how your infographic will look. Even if your design skills are relatively limited, start to sketch out the story and develop a narrative. Try transforming your data into visual components to get a better sense of patterns and key points. For example, you can use apps like Wordle to create word clouds or Hohli to turn numbers into graphs and charts.
Identify the most important pieces of information, and then use the research you’ve gathered to write short explanations for each point you want to cover. Soon, you’ll have a rough sketch of your infographic, which you can use to select the right layout and design platform to complete the job.
Choose a Design Platform
After doing all of the preliminary work, you’ll be ready to select a design platform and create your infographic. While you can choose from dozens of apps, a few stand out as the most user-friendly, even if you have limited design skills or a nonexistent budget. Consider one of these design platforms:
- BeFunky: If you’re looking for a relatively basic option that you can use to edit pictures, create simple charts, and design colorful infographics, try BeFunky. Start with a premade template, add your text, and select a few icons. You can adjust the colors and some layout elements to make your design pop.
- Canva: One of the most popular online design apps, Canva can help you make compelling infographics on education or virtually any other topic. Get started by choosing from the large template library, and then add your text and adjust the layout as necessary. This app allows you to customize almost every element, so you can change orientation, enlarge text, adjust colors, and more.
- Easel.ly: This basic design app allows for simple, streamlined infographics. Layout options are somewhat limited and may not allow for complex storylines, but Easel.ly works well for straightforward visual stories that feature a few key points.
- Infogram: This program requires more design skills than many other online apps, but Infogram can be a great choice for data-heavy infographics. Browse the library to see the many chart, graph, diagram, and map options available for telling your visual story.
- Piktochart: This user-friendly design app allows you to choose from premade templates or create your own infographic from scratch. To access all of the options and features, you might want to consider upgrading to the paid version, which also enables you to upload your own graphic elements.
- Snappa: One of the easiest design tools to use, Snappa is a basic graphic design app that allows you to make simple infographics for education. The layout options and icon libraries may be relatively limited, but in this case, fewer choices means a more streamlined design process. This app can help you produce an infographic in just 10 minutes.
- Venngage: This free app invites you to get started by choosing an informational, chronological, or statistical infographic template. You can easily add charts, graphs, and maps to incorporate data and enhance your story. With so many added elements to choose from, Venngage is a good choice for showcasing statistics and data.
- Visme: Whether you want to create a presentation or an infographic for your educational purposes, this design tool is a smart choice. Visme’s font and image library is extensive, so you’ll have plenty of options for creating visual content that really stands out. You can even add video and audio to take your content to the next level.
Leave the Design Process to a Professional Team
While you’ll want to use DIY design tools to create visual content in the classroom, you may want to consider hiring a professional team to design high-quality infographics for education. When you opt to work with an experienced design team, you can leave the entire process, from ideation to production, to professionals.
When you work with the infographics team at CopyPress, you can expect original ideas, high-level research, clear and concise writing, and expert design. You can also anticipate a look that’s unique to your brand, as contracting a professional team empowers you to step away from cookie-cutter layouts and truly stand out from the crowd.
With their advanced ability to convey complex ideas and communicate high-level information clearly, infographics are ideal teaching tools. To make the most of your visual content, refer to the best practices in this guide as you design and employ infographics for education and teaching.