How do I support students to use Canva for Infographic Creation?
This post is a summary of the eLearning Lunch and Learn session presented on October 2nd, 2017. Images presented throughout are available for download as full infographics – these are available under Resources at the bottom of the post.
If an Infographics Assignment is a part of your course, it’s helpful to have some familiarity with the digital tools that students may use to create their design. In a case study of two Infographics Assignments (Matrix & Hodson, 2014), it was noted that students will use the tools they are familiar with (e.g. Word and PowerPoint) if alternative tools are not suggested. Yet, familiar tools are not always best. They may not explicitly be graphic/infographic design tools and likely do not support students’ full creative potential.
Online tools specific for Infographic design, such as Canva, get students using the types of graphic design software that best support their creative works.
As a general rule of thumb, requiring students to use a specific tool for their assignment is not recommended. What is recommended however, is that you support students to consider appropriate digital tools for the tasks their assigned and feel comfortable enough yourself with those tools to support the conversation.
What is Canva?
Canva is a web-based graphic design tool for creating a range of visual materials. Users create a free account, select the type of design they would like to create (e.g. Infographic versus invitation) then work from a template or build a design from scratch with various elements, text, and uploads.
Users can form teams with other users to support collaborative designs. Final products can then be shared in a variety of ways – by posting to social media, sharing with a link for others to edit or view, with an embed code, or by downloading the design (JPEG, PNG, PDF formats supported).
This post focuses on Canva for infographics design – why? Certainly Canva is not the only tool for creating an infographic and this is by no means a sponsorship of one particular tool over others. Nor does Western have a preferred or Institutionally-supported graphic design tool. However, based on the criteria used for evaluating tools in our eLearning Toolkit, Canva scores favourably on a variety of measures in comparison to other like tools.
Some benefits of Canva include:
- easy to use and become familiar with
- supports collaborative projects through the creation of teams
- allows for numerous download and sharing options
- the free version of the tool is generally not restrictive to creative design
For a more complete comparison of Canva to Piktochart and Infogr.am, see this document:
What do Students Need to Know to use Canva?
Supporting students to make use of Canva for infographics design includes two main points:
- Students feel comfortable with the technical aspects of Canva and its features
- Students understand the qualities of an effective Infographic
Supporting students with the technical use
If your course is like most, you may be feeling like there is little to no time available in the curriculum to teach students how to use the specific tools they will be using to design their infographic. Yet to complete an infographic assignment, students will need to apply a range digital design skills that make use of tools or software in advanced ways. Here are some suggested ways for helping your students get started:
- This Infographics Tutorial by Canva is a great place for new users to get oriented to the tool. Recommend that students or TAs complete the tutorial for an orientation. If your course has a tutorial, consider dedicating a session to the Canva Orientation.
- Refer students to Canva’s comprehensive Help Centre
Supporting Students Understanding of Effective Infographic Design
Once students have the technical skills, they will need to understand effective design to make the most of their abilities. The majority of their understanding will arise from your communicated expectations of the Infographic Assignment itself (e.g. assignment description, rubric design, sharing of exemplars, etc.) – See What are the elements of an effective Infographic Assignment?
Additionally, here are some suggested ideas:
- Have students read How to Design Infographics blog post by Canva
- Share these two Infographics with students (provided for download in the resources below): Canva for Infographics, A Student’s Guide to Infographics
- Have students locate and analyze example infographics and ask them to identify what is effective or ineffective as a viewer
The following Infographics are a summary of the above-mentioned information and are available for use under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 Licence (CC BY-NC 4.0):
Canva for Infographics
A Student’s Guide to Infographics
Matrix, S. & Hodson, J. (2014). Teaching with infographics: Practicing new digital competencies and visual literacies. Journal of Pedagogic Development, 4(2). Retrieved from https://www.beds.ac.uk/jpd/volume-4-issue-2/teaching-with-infographics