Graphical excellence is that which gives to the viewer the greatest number of ideas in the shortest time with the least ink in the smallest space.” Edward R. Tufte
I am driving across country with all my household goods in a 26-foot moving van. I don’t want to sightsee. I just want the quickest route from Virginia to California.
Likewise, when you are trying to learn something from an online course, you want the fastest route to comprehension. Sometimes that means that the teacher needs to include graphics, and those graphics must be clean, focused, and clear.
Socrates said, “Know thyself.” I say, “Know thy users.” And guess what? They don’t think like you do.”—Joshua Brewer
When you’re writing onscreen text to support your online course, you have to remember beginner’s mind. What does someone who doesn’t know this subject need to see?
It’s easy to put up the wrong points, too many points, or too few points. In last week’s blog, we discussed the parameters for successfully using online text. This week, let’s talk about how you make onscreen text that is visually and conceptually effective. Here are 11 guidelines.
Better than a thousand days of diligent study is one day with a great teacher.” —Japanese proverb
Picture a great teacher. Imagine that you can hear every word clearly and that each word makes you nod and lean forward with excitement at all you’re learning.
Now picture a kitten plastered over the teacher’s face. Picture floating text, highlighting words like “the” or “maybe” but nothing relevant to the subject matter.
That’s failed postproduction.
Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” —Benjamin Franklin
“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates.” —William Arthur Ward
Have you ever watched a teacher do a demonstration (demo) in an auditorium? Anyone in the front row has a great view. Back row, not so good. But film that same demo, and everyone gets a great view. In fact, if done right, they get a better view.
Except for the fact that students can’t touch or taste any materials, I’d say that a demo online is a better teaching vehicle than one seen in person.