Benefits for participants and facilitators
The use of images during learning events enhances the learning process. I have been specifically using them to emphasize the key messages. For example, as a learning facilitator by showing images I can easily break the monotony that may evolve during training courses. At the same time images should not be used excessively, as this may easily lead to confusion.
Research has shown the following benefits of using images for both learners and facilitators through:increased clarity and comprehension of the topic discussed
- increased clarity and comprehension of the topic discussed
- higher level of dialogue and discussion
- saved time, increased efficiency and less repetitions
- increased participation
- more attentively listening to each other
- boosted learning for kinesthetic learners who learn best when carrying out physical activities (International Forum of Visual Practitioners, 2015).
Images – effective visual tool for explaining learning objectives and wrapping up sessions
I have found images to be a great graphical tool, particularly at the start of an event, when I familiarize the participants with the learning objectives, and during the wrap-up session. So, at the start of each learning event, I often use images to explain the learning objectives of the particular event. Each image represents one learning objective and has a clear message or represents a symbol that everyone knows. I explain the images by using a simple language and speaking slowly. Then I put the images on the wall, where they stay throughout the event.
Introducing learning objectives through images has several positive effects. They remind participants about the learning objectives throughout the event. They also function as a short evaluation as I often ask participants to think to what extent the learning process enables them to achieve the objectives. Sometimes it turns out that the objectives have been inappropriately designed. In such case I, as the facilitator, redesign them in cooperation with event experts. Consequently the agenda changes and fits more to the audience’s needs. The images on the wall function as a daily monitoring tool that helps us manage the event, so that participants can progress at their best.
In the wrap-up phase I often divide participants into groups and give them several different images from newspapers, magazines and other printed materials. These images are not directly connected to the topics discussed during the event. Each group has to choose one image that represents the things they have learned. I also ask them to nominate one person who will present the group’s conclusions to others. This method has several advantages. First, it stimulates participants to work as a team and to negotiate. Second, the presenter enhances presentation skills and has to carefully capture the group’s decisions. Third, while working on explanations about gained knowledge and skills, the participants review all the sessions.
Moreover, they have to use imagination (as the images are not directly connected to the topics discussed) and show understanding of the topics. It is interesting how quickly participants always connect gained knowledge with previous experience. So, the process is creative and enables knowledge integration. Yet another advantage is setting up a relaxed atmosphere where people have fun. This is great as positive environment facilitates progress in learning.
International Forum of Visual Practitioners, 2015. http://ifvpcommunity.ning.com/page/who-are-we