Whether referring to a teenager preparing for an upcoming examination or an adult who wishes to further his or her education, the notion of distance learning has gained a significant amount of steam thanks to the presence of the digital age.
It's been clear for quite a while that the online environment can greatly benefit education. From MOOCs to dedicated university platforms, we've seen all sorts of initiatives meant to aid and complement conventional education. But the problem of attention still remains.
There are now numerous resources which can be leveraged to create a user-friendly environment that is highly conducive to a proactive sense of learning. However, we need to keep in mind that static material alone is not normally able to keep the attention of the learner for an extended period of time. It is a well-known fact that digital images and infographics are both important elements which should be included.
The main issue is that this type of imagery needs to be properly employed so that it has the greatest impact upon the viewer. Let's look at some important professional suggestions in order to appreciate the wealth of options at your disposal.
Quality Above All
Educational images are often used to explain difficult concepts and to reinforce specific points that are mentioned within a section of text. However, images will also reflect upon the educational provide in question. This is why quality and originality are key. Generic imagery and stock photos will only detract from the efficacy of the site and they might even cause an individual to call into question the information itself.
Finding this type of imagery can be quite challenging, especially when working on a low budget. But you can be original and take your own images, or obtain images that contain no watermarks -- Wikipedia has a rich trove of images you can use, and there are literally millions of photos in the Creative Commons which you can also use to this purpose. Alternatively, emailing authors and asking for permission to use their photos can also work, as most people have no problem with their photos being used in education.
Also, be sure that high-definition files are used. This is important due to the fact that some complicated pictures (such as flow charts and infographics) are likely to contain detailed elements. Furthermore, HD images will be able to display clearly when accessed with mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, and simply put, they're more likely to draw attention. Quality trumps quantity in every case.
Keeping Basic Photographic Techniques in Mind
Let us assume for a moment that an educator wishes to upload his or her own proprietary images.
In such a situation, some basic principles need to be applied. It is interesting to note that these very same rules are just as applicable when photographing food as when displaying period-accurate historical clothing. Some suggestions include:
- Consider how the items to be displayed should be arranged.
- Be sure that an adequate amount of lighting is present.
- If applicable, take multiple pictures from different angles.
- Make sure that the image is visually balanced.
These and other suggestions are commonly used by retailers when utilising Shopify product photography in order to increase brand recognition. However, they are just as applicable within the educational community.
Images should never cause the reader to become distracted from the material at hand. On the contrary, their main purpose is to augment the information that is being presented. It might take a bit of time before the most appropriate media is found and yet, it is well worth the effort. Not only will images help to decrease learning curves, but they can help to maintain the attention of the viewer at all times -- and can have excellent results.