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Fashioning Learning

Two stylishly dressed children
Fashioning Learning

This week, the topic I've been studying is visual design. On the surface, this is the part of the design and development process that makes the learning experience come to life.

If it's done well, that is.

In reality, this is the part of the design that is often rushed or altogether forgotten. Or worse, it's done with no forethought of the effects color, balance, and visual clutter have on the learner.

A person in an oversized hat and coat made of wheat
Just because we can is not a good reason

I got a perfect example of poor visual design this week. An adult family member recently returned to college after a long hiatus. Being the curious (aka nosey) ID, I have been peering over their shoulder from time to time to see how their material was laid out. Today, I was witness to an interactive learning module they were assigned. The activity was an escape room with quiz questions that had to be answered before a zombie invasion occurred.

On the surface, it sounds like something that could be fun and a nice distraction from more passive learning, such as text and videos. But unfortunately, the graphics were juvenile and the mismatched design elements created a confusing experience for my relative. This moment highlighted for me how crucial appropriate visual design is in learning. It's akin to choosing the right outfit for the right occasion.

A person in mismatched and ill fitting clothes
Mismatching visual elements is befuddling

Visual design in educational materials is like the fabric of our favorite garments. It's not just there for show; it serves a functional purpose. The choice of colors, layout, and visuals guides the learner's journey, setting the mood and pace of learning. Think of it as the first impression – crucial in drawing learners in and keeping them interested.

Consider your go-to outfit – it's not only about aesthetics but also comfort and suitability. Likewise, in education, visual design must strike a balance between being appealing and functional. A well-structured, visually appealing learning material, like a comfortable yet stylish ensemble, can significantly enhance the learning experience.

On top of that, every educator has their own 'fashion sense' when it comes to designing learning materials. My relative's struggle with the zombie-themed content was a stark reminder that personalizing educational materials with an appropriate visual style can make learning relatable and engaging, just like how a distinctive fashion style can captivate an audience.

A woman in comfortable and stylish outfit
Comfort plus style is the aim of visual design

In both fashion and education, consistency is key. A cohesive visual approach in learning materials is like a well-coordinated wardrobe – it brings clarity and ease of understanding. Consistent design helps learners navigate through content seamlessly, similar to how a well-organized closet simplifies choosing an outfit.

To wrap it up, the intersection of visual design and learning is profound and multifaceted. My family's experience with the zombie learning activity was a humorous yet enlightening example of why design matters. Like carefully selecting our attire, crafting learning experiences with the right visual appeal can empower and inspire learners. So, let's continue to weave together style and education, creating learning journeys that are as visually engaging as they are informative.

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