Adding graphics to words improves learning.
People retain 89% more information when graphics and text are used together as noted by Ruth Clark and Richard Meyer, two eLearning instructional design pioneers. Graphics are custom images, drawings, illustrations, licensed images that convey the context, and even animations and video.
Learning occurs by the encoding of new information in permanent memory called long-term memory. According to a theory called Dual Encoding, content communicated with text and graphics send two codes — a verbal code and a visual code. Having two opportunities for encoding into long-term memory increases learning. — Six Principles of Effective eLearning: What works and Why, Ruth Clark.
In addition, graphics can’t be gratuitous.
It is important to select graphics that are congruent with the text and the learning objectives. Gratuitous graphics, think “clip-art,” distract people from key learning points. They muddy up the message and depresses learning and retaining the important information.
We discourage authors from just using text only. We will not use irrelevant or gratuitous clip-art. We ensure that you see graphics, illustrations, and images that are related to the content. They are placed next to the relevant text to reinforce the learning point.
O2 Digital Media creates custom graphics to help our authors nail their learning objectives. We also use licensed images to achieve the same result.