Visualizing the Transition from Learning 1.0 to Learning 2.0

On the wiki page devoted to VizThink’s Visual Learning Group, Brent Schlenker asked others represent the  transition from Learning 1.0 to Learning 2.0.

I contacted Brent a few weeks ago, manifesting my interest to participate. I’ve got something brewing…

The Evolution of Workplace Learning
The Evolution of Workplace Learning

Peter Stoyko has already come up with an information graphic. It focuses on how social media/Web 2.0 tools have facilitated learning as well as how mapping and graphic/visual facilitation have facilitated learning.

I’m thinking there is a link between the two actually. I believe they feed one another somehow. I’m not sure how to formulate it yet, but it definitely has some of the following elements.

Technological improvements /  Web 2.0 technologies make it easier to:

Can you think of other links? It would most definitely help me out in developping my own information graphic.


When Did We Forget How to Draw?

In a recent blog post on Visual Thinking, George Siemens wrote:

I’m not a visual person. Ok, not totally true. I’m a visual person, but I lack skills to express myself visually.

He then provided a great link to Joan Vinall-Cox’s article on Visual Literacy and Visual Thinking. I wanted to thank him on his blog but it seems I do not have the right permissions to leave a comment – so if you surf past this little bit of cyberspace, thanks George, and perhaps you’ll find more resources below!

I personally understand things better when they are put in a visual form. When I was a child, I first learned to draw. In fact, I learned to talk first (and, according to my dad, haven’t ever stopped since) and then I learned how to draw, and then I learned how to read and write.

Universal Recycling Symbol
Universal Recycling Symbol

History shows us that early civilizations drew pictograph’s on the cave walls, then came proto-writing and eventually came the modern alphabets as we know them today. But we still commonly use symbols and images to communicate. An strong example is the Universal Recycling Symbol which is an internationally-recognized symbol.

I recently picked up Dan Roam’s The Back of the Napkin in which he explains that we are essentially visual people and that drawing is an inherent talent to all. With the most basic of drawing skills—a square, a circle, an arrow, a stick figure and a smiley face—one can communicate effectively, leveraging hand drawn sketches on a napkin (or by extension on a whiteboard). You can watch an hour long video presenting the key concepts by the author made available by Authors@Google.

Back of the Napkin - The 66 Rule
Dan Roam's Back of the Napkin

I’d love to hear about other resources you might recommend!


If an Image is Worth a Thousand Words, How Much is an Animation Worth?

Nicholas A. Christakis, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., and James H. Fowler, Ph.D. recently published an article in the New England Journal of Medicine entitled The Collective Dynamics of Smoking in a Large Social Network.

What is fantastic with this article published online is that there is a page with supplementary material containing an animation entitled: Dynamic Graphic Representation of a Portion of the Framingham Heart Study Social Network (pump up the volume).

I’ll admit – I didn’t read the article. My eyes are too exhausted from editing my thesis (and yet somehow I find the will to blog). However, the animation was clear enough, and though I may not have as much information as I would have had by reading the article, I believe I got the essential information that I needed, and because I’m a very visual person, was able to comprehend the message quite quickly.

If only I could have done a giant Tag Cloud of my jumbled thoughts for my thesis!


Visual Display of Information

A few years ago, I discovered Edward Tufte, who has been writing about how to efficiently display information. Here are 2 exerpts from The Visual Display of Quantitative Information (1983) – click the images to enlarge.

Fuel Economy Standards for Autos - New York Times, August 9, 1978, p.D-2.
The Shrinking Family Doctor - Los Angeles Times, August 5, 1979, p.3.

I was thoroughly impressed with the multiple examples of clever mix of text and images. It made me reflect quite a bit on the use of images in my own presentations. Now I’ve been known to use a lot of charts, diagrams and other methods to visually display information when I make presentations or posters. Maybe it’s because I’m a visual person, but I find it really helps me understand, process… well visualize the information.

In his November 2007 blog post entitled Warning: Using the Wrong Images Can Confuse Your Learners, Tom Kuhlmann discusses the importance of using images appropriately. He starts his post off with:

To lessen the cognitive load and make your content more memorable, it’s important to use images that contribute to the learning experience rather than detract from it.

Images are powerful, as are words. There seems to be a trend about adding some kind of a visual display to words on the Web 2.0. The Tag Cloud is gaining popularity. Wordle seems to be on many web aficionados’ radar lately. Below is my wordle of The Gashlycrumb Tinies.

Wordle: Gashlycrumb Tinies

And my personal new favorite discovery is Many Eyes. Click on the vignette below to see my Dr Seuss word tree!