What are the elements of an effective Infographic Assignment?
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. Video clips from the Lunch and Learn session are also available throughout.
What is an Infographic?
An infographic is a highly visual representation of information, data, or content that is intended to quickly communicate information to a reader. Smaller than but similar to a poster, an Infographic often communicates a central argument, topic, or thesis focusing on the overall patterns, themes, or salient points.
An infographic is often designed using graphic design software. Photoshop, PowerPoint, and Word can be used, however, new online digital tools for Infographic creation are increasingly popular. Examples include Canva, Piktochart, or Infogr.am.
For a comparison of the three above-mentioned online tools for Infographic creation, see the following comparison chart.
What makes for an effective Infographic?
Effective infographics tell a story. There is an introduction, main argument, and conclusion (Canva, 2017). Each element (text, graphics, data representations, etc.) meaningfully contributes to communicating an accurate and concise presentation of information. As a quick visual representation, Gillicano and colleagues (2014) suggest that an infographic is easily comprehended and read in less than a minute.
Much like an essay, an infographic is often the end product of a research project or inquiry process. As an academic work, it is important that the information be accurate and properly cited. Infographics should easily allow readers to access referenced material through citation.
Overall, thought should be given to who the target audience is and what purpose the infographic will serve. Accurate, properly referenced material is communicated effectively through a highly visual and well organized layout.
What are the elements of an Effective Infographic Assignment Design?
Learning Outcomes and Rationale
First and foremost, the infographics assignment aligns with intended learning outcomes of the course. Producing an infographic requires that students draw on a large skill set. It requires that they find, synthesize, and integrate a range of information in order make decisions for then arranging and designing the infographic to effectively communicate the argument through a highly visual format.
Scaffolding Student Work
Before introducing an infographics assignment, instructors should consider the skills students currently have to effectively research, integrate, and organize the information to be communicated through an Infographic as well as the design and digital technology skills for designing the infographic in a visually appealing way. Assignments should adequately scaffold students movement through the various steps involved in designing an infographic as a final product of an inquiry process. Steps could include:
- Research Stage: Submission of an annotated bibliography, report, or first draft of infographic content
- Drafting Stage: Students receive feedback on a draft of the infographic and/or it’s content from instructors or peers
- Designing Stage: Students receive support on designing their infographic, through tutorials, peer support, or design sprints
Effective infographic assignment design regularly incorporates a component requiring students to reflect on their infographic, what was learned, or how they aimed to communicate information to their target audience (Matrix & Hodson, 2014).
Another common element of infographics assignment designs is the use of peer review. The chance to receive feedback from peers can be incorporated at the drafting or final stages of the assignment. Peer review serves two purposes: it gives feedback to students on their infographic designs and it supports student reviewers to critically analyze the infographics of others.
The following evaluative components are common amongst infographics rubrics (Matrix & Hodson, 2014; Schrock, 2012; Texas Education Agency, 2015):
Content: accurate and detailed information is provided and supports the thesis/argument/purpose
Focus: All content (visual and textual) concisely complements the purpose of the infographic
Visual Appeal: Fonts, colours, layouts, & visual elements meaningfully contribute to the infographic’s ability to convey the overall message
Argument: The infographic effectively informs and convinces the reader of its intended purpose
Organization: Information is systematically organized and supports readers’ comprehension of the main message
Citation: Full bibliographic citations are included for all sources referenced
Mechanics: The infographic is free of spelling or grammatical errors
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):
A Students Guide to Infographics
An Instructor’s Guide to Infographics Assignments
Canva. (2017). Infographic design. Retrieved from https://designschool.canva.com/how-to-design-infographics/
Gallicano, T., Ekachai, D., Freberg, K. (2014). The infographic assignment. A qualitative study of students’ and professionals’ perspectives. Public Relations, 8(4), 1-22. Retrieved from http://prjournal.instituteforpr.org/wp-content/uploads/2014GallicanoEkachaiFreberg.pdf
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
Schrock, K. (2012). Infographic Rubric. Retrieved from http://www.schrockguide.net/uploads/3/9/2/2/392267/schrock_infographic_rubric.pdf
Texas Education Agency. (2015). Rubric for infographic or poster. Retrieved from http://cte.sfasu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Rubric-for-Infographic-or-Poster.pdf