Visual Design: A Form of Science or Art for Learning in the Digital Age?

Australian Institute of Training and Development
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Training and Development, 2019, 46 (4), pp. 17 - 19
Issue Date:
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Scientists tend to look at visual design and aesthetics as purely artistic and subjective. Professionals from the creative industry, such as graphic designers, visual designers, and digital media producers are very aware that visuals have a profound effect when communicating with an audience. Effective visual design triggers the emotions of users. Therefore, it is necessary to understand and apply design elements and principles in the learning context, using pedagogies and instructional strategies in conjunction with principles of layout design, colour, typography, and image use to enhance the learning experience. If these visual design principles are appropriately applied, it also produces universal designs, catering for learners with disabilities (e.g. colour blindness and dyslexia). Designing effective online learning is very little related to artistic flair and creativity. Contrary to what many learning professionals think, understanding these principles is not gained by simply creating digital media. They need to be formally taught. To demonstrate how effective these principles are for creating instructional materials, the author discusses their scientific basis by explaining how visual stimuli work in the human brain.
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