Images are the easiest and the most effective way to ensure that information is retained as long-term memory. Dr. Lynell Burmark, a visual education expert, agrees: “unless our words, concepts, ideas are hooked onto an image, they will go in one ear, sail through the brain, and go out the other ear. Words are processed by our short-term memory where we can only retain about 7 bits of information. … images, on the other hand, go directly into long-term memory where they are indelibly etched. Therefore, it is not surprising that it is much easier to show a circle than describe it.”
Studies conducted furthermore prove the power of visual aids in corporate training and the results are rather interesting. For example, participants responded to visual information faster and more effectively compared to text-only material. This, in turn, improved learning on multiple levels. There are clearly numerous advantages to visual aids; we discuss 5 of such advantages below:
- Higher levels of engagement
- Increased retention rates
- Improved comprehension
- Drives motivation
Instructional designers can therefore always benefit from presenting content visually since people remember visual information better than linguistic information – an observation confirmed by Roger Shepard in his 1967 study.
1. Higher levels of engagement
Visual facilitation and even interactivity integrated into corporate training have the potential to make learning experiences more vivid content, more powerful and questions more provocative. Because it goes beyond simply presenting learning content, staff can immerse themselves in the content. These benefits all add up to increased levels of engagement that text-only material cannot achieve.
2. Increased retention rates
The higher levels of engagement mentioned above further results in improved retention rates and recall of knowledge on the part of the staff. Visual facilitation, interactive content and embedded real-world scenarios in your training material can transform the most mundane training session to an engaging, thought-provoking learning experience.
Visual facilitation renders thoughts visible and explicit which, in turn, increases clarity and reduces misunderstandings.
4. Improved comprehension
Visual aids further help employees grasp concepts more easily as it stimulates the imagination and affect their cognitive capabilities. Visual facilitation has the potential to stretch human “bandwidth”
5. Drives motivation
Employees often struggle with training and training material because they find it uninteresting and therefore lacks motivation to put in the necessary effort. Visuals can, again, be beneficial – crafting captivating visuals, engaging content and interested infographics and learning maps not only fights boredom but motivates employees to properly engage with the training material and get real value from it.
Training your team is an investment, and one well worth making. In this regard, using effective visuals can be power boosters for your training sessions and training material. However, your visuals should always remain relevant to the training topic otherwise they may distract from the training message and even put off your audience.