You may have heard about infographics as a useful teaching tool. (If not, I invite you to read my previous post on using infographics for teaching and learning).
Infographics are visual designs that help to explain information or data in a simple way. The information you want to share with students is useful, but it needs to be presented in a way that will facilitate learning.
In this post, I will walk you through the five key steps involved in designing and creating your own infographics for learning.
Step 1. Identify your learning goal(s) and main message(s)
What are the main goals for your lesson? What steps will get to your goal(s)? How can these steps be visualized? What learning story are you telling? What’s the ultimate “aha” moment, and how will you represent it visually? Gather and organize your data or information to create a big picture of what you’d like to share with your students.
Sketch out your steps and make sure they make sense before you start. There is nothing more frustrating than having to start a whole design over on the computer.
Step 2. Choose your platform
There are many ways to represent your ideas. Choosing a format will help you refine the visual approach that you’d like to take. There is no right or wrong format, so pick something that is appealing to you and that you think your students will find meaningful and easy to remember.
Piktochart provides a useful flowchart to help you decide which format is best for you.
Below is a list of the most popular infographic platforms:
- Piktochart (a presentation tool with templates that allow you to turn any kind of data into engaging infographics. You can modify color schemes and fonts, and upload basic shapes and images.)
- Easel.ly (web-based tool with dozens of customisable templates. They have a library with basic shapes, and you can change fonts, colours, text styles and sizes. You can also upload graphics and place them within the infographic.)
- Visual.ly (this is a community platform for data visualization and infographics that allows you to create infographics and to share them on social media.)
- InFoto (this site builds infographics from photos available on your Android phone.)
- Venngage (a tool that allows you to create and publish infographics. Templates, themes, charts and icons are available, and you can upload your own images as well.)
- Dipity (here, you can create, share, or embed content with interactive timelines. It lets you add video, audio, images, text, and links to social media for instance)
Step 3. Consider design principles
Once you have chosen a format and are ready to start your infographic, remember that colors that are too bright or too dark are not attractive to the eye. Avoid white backgrounds when possible (because most websites have a white background, it will make your work blend in too much).
Adopt the rule of three: pick three primary colors, with the lightest being the background. Stay within that color palette.
Try keeping the text minimal, in “bite size” chunks. What are the keywords that you want your students to remember? A well-styled infographic will be balanced and consistent, and uses size, colors, and images to make important information stand out.
Step 4. Get feedback
Remember that infographics should speak for themselves. Show it to a colleague, a family member, or even your students to see if that’s the case. If you have to explain to them what’s in the infographics, it probably means that it needs a little more work. Don’t get discouraged. Great work requires many iterations before being shared.
Step 5. Share it
Most infographic platforms allow you to share your work through different media sites or to embed in your own website. You also have the option to save it as an image or PDF. Keep in mind that some websites might require you to upgrade your subscription to access some of these features.
Finally, think about adding a Creative Commons license (a public copyright license) to retain copyrights to your infographics while allowing others to use them.
Need more help? Check out Piktochart’s blog for additional tips on how to create infographics. Share your experience or suggestions with others in the comments below!
Sarah Gretter is a doctoral candidate in Educational Psychology & Educational Technology at Michigan State University. Her research focuses on Media & information literacy. Specifically, she is interested in the competencies that educators should acquire to successfully help students understand the functions of online media and information in our digital lives. She is also interested in student acquisition of 21st century digital skills, including media & information literacy, computational thinking, and online citizenship. (website: www.sarahgretter.org)