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Learning Enhancement and Development

Session 3C

The power of pictures: How images can enhance understanding, and inspire and engage students

Fariha Afgan - City, University of London, Learning Enhancement and Development (LEaD)

Dominic Pates - City, University of London, Learning Enhancement and Development (LEaD)

The effective use of images in teaching has been proven to improve comprehension, transmit messages faster, stick in long-term memory and trigger an emotive response, which all lead to deeper understanding.  Understanding the practice of using images effectively will enhance any educational resource and help to propagate excellent teaching.

We will discuss and explore the use of images in education and discover how appropriate use can enhance learning and teaching resources.  It has been demonstrated that the effective use of images with words, rather than words alone, leads to deeper understanding of concepts and ideas (Mayer & Moreno, 2002).  Embedding this “visual literacy” in learning and teaching can also add emotional impact and engage and inspire students, which in turn drives attention (Mayer J., 2014).  Traditional teaching methods have focussed on verbal modes of instruction such as lectures and printed materials, however the digitisation of this content provides an opportunity to incorporate images more easily (Mayer R.E., 2014).

Participants will be introduced to Creative Commons (CC), a means of allowing flexible uses of copyrighted material, such as images, including in learning and teaching (Creative Commons website 2016).  We will introduce the plethora of resources available, as well as some of the most commonly used websites for image assets such as Flickr, Wikimedia and The Noun Project (Creative Commons website 2016).

Attendees will be asked to work in small groups to search for a CC licenced image and discuss how it communicates their given concept.  The discussion will then compare and contrast the varying approaches, and explore how this new approach might inform their future learning and teaching.


Creative Commons - About, 2016. Available at: https://creativecommons.org/about [Accessed 4 March 2016]

Mayer, Jennifer. "Visual Literacy across the Disciplines." In Research within the Disciplines, 2nd ed., edited by Peggy Keeran and Michael Levine-Clark, 277-299. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2014

Mayer, R.E., 2014. Research-Based Principles for Designing Multimedia Instruction. In V. A. Benassi, C. E. Overson, & C. M. Hakala (Eds.). Applying science of learning in education: Infusing psychological science into the curriculum, ebook. Available at http://teachpsych.org/ebooks/asle2014/index.php [Accessed 22 April 2016]

Mayer, R.E. and Moreno, R., 2002. Aids to computer-based multimedia learning. Learning and instruction, 12(1), pp.107-119