A Warning About Infographics

The internet is a wonderful thing but one has to be careful not to believe everything they read.

Most people know that not all that is shared online is 100% factual. This is the case across nearly every topic, including the learning industry.

In some situations debates result. For example, there seems to be a never ending argument over the validity of learning styles. Much like politics, this topic is rather divisive.

But then there are the times you come across a fact that sounds like it could be true but things change upon further examination.

Most of the time the fact is partially true, so don’t feel bad about believing it! Often though there is more to the context that needs to be considered as well.

Below is an infographic (created by Digitec Interactive) that details three different myths related to learning.

You’ll notice that learning styles makes the list. I don’t think there is anything wrong with this but I would be hesitant about including broad generalizations (especially with relation to a hotly debated topic) in an infographic.

To be fair I don’t think that this infographic in itself is overly impressive, but I’ve decided to include it in this article because I think it is a good example of how we need to be careful in believing everything we read.

For lack of a better term I think that infographics can oversimplify complex topics. If any of these myths below spark your interest then I would encourage you to investigate them further starting with the sources that are referenced. This isn’t just true for this infographic but should be common practice when viewing any of them.

If we simply recite everything we read because it’s in a simplified visual then we are doing the learning industry a disservice.

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About the Author:

Justin Ferriman is the co-founder and CEO of LearnDash, the WordPress LMS trusted by the world's leading organizations, such as the University of Michigan, Digital Marketer, WPEngine, and Infusionsoft. Justin has made a career as an elearning consultant where he has implemented large-scale training programs for Fortune 500 companies. Twitter | LinkedIn

2 Comments
  1. Lynda Deckard Ramos

    A great post Justin and a reminder that we as teachers need to be as selective in our consumption of information as we are (I hope) teaching our students to be.

  2. Dan Bashaw

    I expect the most effective infographics are provocative or surprising in content, imagery, or both. I think one good practice that the infographic uses is to cite the sources directly in the graphic, as they do with the link to danielwillingham.com/learning-styles-faq.html. Maybe this section could be given a bit more context by directly inviting the viewer to ‘Explore these surprising findings more at…” above the links.

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