Posts Tagged visual design
Making great teaching materials is not only about the content but also how it is presented. Research has shown that visual design influences both student comprehension and motivation. This workshop offered some visual design best practices to improve student learning, and demonstrated how they can be applied to materials using word processing software.
References can be downloaded HERE
The handout can be downloaded HERE
Thank you everyone for coming to my presentation this morning! I’m sorry that I didn’t have enough handouts, I wasn’t expecting a standing-room-only crowd at 7:30 am. If you would like to download a PDF of the handout, you can get it HERE.
It was my great pleasure to talk with teachers at the 9th Annual CamTESOL Conference in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The theme of the conference was Language and Empowerment and I hope that I have been able to help empower teachers to make better handouts which help students learn faster and easier.
The PDF of the presentation handout can be downloaded HERE.
Many teachers use their own materials in the classroom and the content of these handouts is only half of the document. The other half is the visual elements: graphics, page layout, typography, etc. While lots of thought and energy went into the creation of content, often the visual elements are ignored (Kelly, 1998). Teachers should be concerned about these elements because research has shown that visual design effects comprehension (Gasser, et al., 2005, Walker, 2001) and motivation (Smiley, 2004, Misanchuk, 1992). This presentation reviewed visual design research and offered concrete suggestions for improving it.
The references for this presentation can be downloaded HERE.
I’m presenting at the Korea TESOL International Conference on Sunday at 9:00 in room M-101. I’ll be speaking on my usual topic of Visual Communication and L2 learners. I will be sharing several visual design best practices for teachers who make the own materials.
On Saturday June 11, 2011 I gave this presentation at the inaugural Asian Conference on Language Learning (ACLL) in Osaka, Japan. The theme of the conference was connecting theory and practice and in this presentation I attempted to connect theories about visual design, that is to say document design, to second language learners.
I began by giving a quick overview of some the research that has shown the visual design of a document effects the reader’s motivation, efficiency/speed, comprehension and recall of the material in the document. I then looked at five different aspects of visual design, explained the theory and showed examples to illustrate the issue.
First, I discussed typefaces. I explained how the best typeface to use with L2 learners is the typeface they are most familiar with. I showed teachers how they could determine which typeface is used for the textbook that were using in class and if they weren’t using a textbook I explained why using a serif typeface is usually the best choice.
Then I talked about line length and spacing. I discussed how that with long lines of text the reader has a tendency to lose their place when they finish a line a move to the next. I explain how the best solution for this is to use shorter lines with extra line spacing. I suggested that I good rule of thumb was to use two columns for an A4 portrait document and three columns for an A4 landscape document.
Next I showed some examples of white space and talked about the importance of white space to keep the document easy to use and not intimidate the reader. Then I discussed using lines and shapes to break the document in sections and guide the reader’s eye around the page. I showed how powerful simple things like adding a rectangle around in important information can help novice readers navigate a handout.
Finally, I discussed graphics which I defined as illustrations and photographs. I noted that many teachers like to fill empty space with clipart, but that often just distracts and confuses the reader. I ended by suggesting that graphics only be included if they served an instructional purpose.