Infographics are a powerful tool for communicating complex ideas quickly.
As visual representatives of data, they can illuminate patterns, clarify abstract ideas, and condense a plethora of information into a relatively small space, making them perfect for teaching and training.
They have certainly become popular in eLearning over the last few years for these reasons, which is why many companies and organizations looking to train employees seek to utilize them in their coursework.
But hiring a designer or design firm to create an infographic is not always the most practical solution, especially if you need more than one graphic per course.
Thankfully, there are several ways you can create your own eLearning infographics quickly and easily, even if you’re not a designer.
Here’s what you should know…
Selecting the Right Lesson for Your Infographic
There are several reasons why eLearning infographics are particularly useful for companies and organizations and why you should consider using them in place of or in addition to certain coursework.
1. They increase learner engagement
Infographics are designed to be attention grabbing in a different way than plain text. They give learners the opportunity to break down large portions of information into bite-sized takeaways, which can help with information retention.
This is also important to remember if you’re considering using infographics, as the content you choose will need to be condensable. Not all training lessons are suitable for infographics, but anything that can be visually represented should work.
2. They can improve comprehension
This is especially helpful if you have a diverse audience or need to translate coursework into other languages. Images and graphics can transcend cultural barriers, which makes them perfect for areas of your course that require a certain level of comprehension. You won’t run the risk of learners becoming confused or bored.
3. They are ideal for mobile learning
Infographics are extremely mobile, and can also be turned into “visual lessons” that can be placed around the office as a reminder or accessible on employee’s mobile devices, thereby improving retention over the long term. This makes them ideal for “moment of need” lessons or reference guides for specific tasks.
4. They can help with complex ideas
Some abstract concepts can be difficult to understand for some learners, but infographics can bridge the gap between seemingly disconnected concepts, which makes them helpful for complex ideas as well as simple reminders.
It’s important when you’re selecting the right lessons to use for your infographics to consider the above benefits. Make sure the lessons you choose can be easily translated into visual representation.
The lesson you choose to use can either be made up of simple concepts or complex ideas, but you will need to be able to show the ideas/concept in action, so choose carefully.
Infographic Design Best Practices
Designing an infographic is not the same as designing a website or a brochure. The most important thing to remember is that infographics are a visualization of data. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when starting out.
1. Create with a specific audience in mind
Coming up with an idea is only half the battle. The other half is figuring out the audience that will best respond to an infographic. The ones that work best are those that meet your target audience where they need it most. As in: Your infographic should meet a certain need. If there’s a concept that your workers are struggling with, consider starting there instead of just doing something more generalized.
2. Keep it simple
One of the advantages of infographics is that they organize advanced ideas into a simple form. The tendency might be to make the infographic as complex as possible and stuff as much information into it as possible in order to convey a point, but this can actually backfire. The best infographics create an “Oh, I get it!” experience for the user, so stick with a few simple images and some basic text and don’t overcomplicate it.
3. Show don’t tell
Remember that this is a visual medium, so while some text is inevitable, your images should be the main focus. The best images are those of something in action or visual depictions of facts and figures.
4. Dress up your bar charts and graphs
It’s not enough to throw a few bar charts on a page and call it an infographic; otherwise, you might as well use a PowerPoint slide. There needs to be a certain visual appeal to the graphic, so if you do use charts or bar graphics, consider making them unique in some way.
5. Make them easy to view
Infographics don’t have a certain size limitations, but generally speaking, the shorter, the better. When the design is too long, for example, the readability can be lost, especially when accessed on smaller mobile devices. Make sure your images and text are clearly legible and large enough to be viewed on any screen size. Keep the length to around 8,000 pixels if possible.
5 Tools for Creating Infographics
Even if you don’t have years of design experience, you can still put together great infographics on the fly with help from various tools around the web. Here are a few of the better tools that will get you started.
Canva is a powerful and easy-to-use online tool with a dedicated infographic maker. It gives you hundreds of design elements and fonts for free, though you can also purchase “premium” designs should you need them.
Google chart tools are powerful, simple to use, and free, and you can use them to create infographics and display data directly on your website. The best part of this tool is that you can connect data in real time, making it great for generating infographics where the data may change over time.
This free web-based infographic tool offers you a dozen free templates to start you off, which are easily customizable. You get access to a library of things like arrows, shapes and connector lines, and you can customize the text with a range of fonts, colors, text styles and sizes. The tool also lets you upload your graphics and position them with one touch.
Piktochart is an infographic and presentation tool enabling you to turn any data into engaging images with just a few clicks. The customizable editor lets you do things like modify color schemes and fonts, insert pre-loaded graphics and upload basic shapes and images. There’s a free version offering three basic themes, while a pro account costs $29 per month or $169 for a year.
Venngage is a great tool for creating and publishing infographics because it’s so simple and easy to use. You can choose from templates, themes, and hundreds of charts and icons as well as uploading your own images and backgrounds, or customize a theme to suit your brand, and you can even animate images if needed.
If all else fails, you can seek help from a designer or developer, but with the availability of infographic tools out there, don’t rule yourself out.
Remember that no one understands your materials and lessons as well as you do, so you have the best viewpoint for creating a truly inspiring infographic.
When you’re putting together material for the actual content, remember that you can use either simple or complex ideas, but all should be able to be visualized using simple images or colorful graphs and charts.
And above all, remember to keep it simple and to focus on lessons that really will matter to your audience. The power of infographics is in their mobility, so use them for “need of the moment” lessons and you won’t go wrong.