iTILT Partner Clip Selection: A Good Amount of Visuals

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The iTILT-training handbook offers a set of criteria to be used when designing IWB materials for foreign language lessons.  One of the criteria focuses specifically on the amount fo the visuals in the IWB activities. More research proves that visuals, playing a prominent role in presentations, increase information clarity and absorption. But, there is a right way – and a wrong way – to structure and use them. Proper use and construction of visuals is critical to conveying educational content in the most understandable way possible. 

People tend to eye-minded, and the impacts visual aids bring to a presentation are, indeed, significant. In many studies, experimental psychologists and educators have found that retention of information three days after a meeting or other event is six times greater when information is presented by visual and oral means than when the information is presented by the spoken word alone. Studies by educational researchers suggest that approximately 83% of human learning occurs visually, and the remaining 17% through the other senses - 11% through hearing, 3.5% through smell, 1% through taste, and 1.5% through touch. The studies suggest that three days after an event, people retain 10% of what they heard from an oral presentation, 35% from a visual presentation, and 65% from a visual and oral presentation. The use of visual aids, then, is essential to all presentations. Without them, the impact of your presentation may leave the audience shortly after the audience leaves you. By preparing a presentation with visual aids that reinforce your main ideas, you will reach your audience far more effectively, and, perhaps, continue to "touch" them long after the presentation ends.

Visuals must be organized in a way that is not only cohesive and logical, but visually appealing and impactful as well. A picture isn't always worth a lot of words; the wrong picture—or even the right picture, but at the wrong time or place—can be worthless, or even harmful. Concepts that guide how visuals should be used in communication are called visual language. 

Presentations enhanced with effective visual support are usually better than presentations given without visual enhancers. Clear pictures multiply the audience's level of understanding of the material presented, and they should be used to reinforce your message, clarify points, and create excitement. If visual aids are used well they will enhance a presentation by adding impact and strengthening audience involvement, yet if they are managed badly they can ruin a presentation. In a learning environment, if IWB screens with a lot of text on them are your only visual tools, you should be concerned about the effectiveness of your learning experience.

The way we display information on our IWBs can make or break our presentation, yet many presenters struggle to structure their slides in  the most compelling manner possible. It’s a delicate balance – if your  slides are dull and boring, you may lose your audience along the way.  On the other hand, if they’re too busy – crammed with images or too  much text – attendees may be too distracted to absorb what we are trying to express. The key to success lies somewhere in between. 

When we as the trainers, build a flip chart based on discussions in class, it provides a strong visual anchor for the shared learning that the group arrives at. A clean, simple background will ensure that audience attention is focused on the main points and ideas of your speech. Your audience should not have to struggle to view the content contained on your slides. Additionally, text needs to be easily readable on handouts. The following clip was chosen to exemplify the gist of the ideas here.

When preparing graphics, make sure they are not too crowded in detail. Do no over-use color. See that line detail, letters, and symbols are bold enough to be seen from the back of the room. Avoid tabular displays whenever possible. Although they may seem like the best way to logically organize and lay out large data sets, audiences will find them dull and boring. Movement may be given to different types of visual aids.  The following clip was chosen to exemplify the gist of the ideas here.

Spacing: Illustrations should be spaced throughout the speech. White space—the empty space on the page—emphasizes the material that it separates from the rest of the text. This emphasis makes the material easier to read. Creating white space is also known as “menu writing,” because the visual design principle—brief text highlighted by space—is the same as you find on restaurant menus. The following clip was chosen to exemplify the gist of the ideas here.

Use Images Instead of Text: Wherever possible, try to get your point across using visual aids – photos, images, charts, etc. – instead of plain text. The average person cannot read and listen at the same time, so forcing them to peruse wordy slides as you speak will hinder information retention. The following clip was chosen to exemplify the gist of the ideas here.