Why is an understanding of Visual Literacy important?

Visual literacy is an essential ‘literacy’ for teachers, and one they should be actively exploring and encouraging and helping  their learners develop. Digital platforms, tools and environments have become ubiquitous  and it can be argued that visual literacy is very closely linked to digital literacy. These inextricable links between the digital and the visual, affect education as much as any other aspect of our lives.

Visual Literacy is a cross disciplinary competence, and pays an important role in all subjects, and is just as important in the STEM subjects as the Arts and Humanities.

Ausubel makes a clear distinction between rote learning and meaningful learning, and the need for learners to struggle to integrate new concepts into existing structures of knowledge. Developing critical thinking (analysis, evaluation, design) requires learners to develop highly differentiated concepts through meaningful learning (Novak, 2014). Concept maps are one of the best tools to accomplish this level of critical thinking.

The following references are part of the evidence base for this resource.

Moore, D, and Readence, J,. A quantitative and qualitative review of graphic organizer research,  (1984), Journal of Educational Research, 78(1), pp. 11-17.

Nesbit, J. & Adesope, O. . Learning with concept and knowledge maps: A meta-analysis. (2006) Review of Educational Research. 76(3), pp. 413-448.

Novak, J. (2014). Cases on Teaching Critical Thinking through Visual Representation Strategies. L.

Shedletsky and J. Beaudry. (Eds.). Cases on Teaching Critical Thinking through Visual Representation Strategies. L. Hershey, PA: IGI Publications.

Hattie, J. (2009). Visible learning. Routledge. New York, NY: Routledge.

Hattie, J. (2012). Visible learning for teachers. New York, NY: Routledge.

Flood, J. Lapp, L. and Brice Heath, S,.  (1998)  Hypertext and the question of visual literacy. Handbook of literacy and technology: Transformations in a post-typographic world 3-14.