Well, this week’s post is not nearly as exciting as last week’s—but, then again, neither is the moon. Here I have created a graphic introducing my unit of instruction on nonduality, part of a K-12 Comparative Religion for Children course. Before starting this assignment, I did not have a clear plan for the sequence of lessons in this unit and how the graphics I proposed in my initial outline would fit into those lessons. After following the ACE (Analyze, Create, Evaluate) design process and focusing on PAT (Principles, Actions, Tools) during the Create phase, I have a much clearer picture of how my graphic design will advance learning.
As a high-level overview of the instructional unit, my graphic serves the purpose of organization, making “information easier to understand logically” (Lohr, 2008, p. 75). I believe that it accomplishes this by explaining in text the main ideas of each lesson under a visual illustrating that concept. Students in this course likely will not have prior background knowledge in the subject and probably won’t initially understand the visual, as it has not yet been explained in the lesson. However, they will make an association to it every subsequent time they see this graphic organizer at the start of the next lesson.
I used horizontal arrows in the graphic to indicate the lesson sequence and down arrows to show the learning progression within each lesson. One change I will make based on a user test is to actually write “Lesson 1,” “Lesson 2,” and “Lesson 3” either above each visual or above the current headers. It was unclear to the user that these were three lessons. Another change I will make is to frame the third visual because the user read that as a header. It is actually a graphic illustrating the core concept in Advaita Vedanta that the true “individual” self or soul (Atman) is actually one with the absolute reality (Brahman), which is everywhere and inside of each living being.
The arrows at the bottom are intended to show learning progression across the three lessons—progressing through the levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy. As the third instructional step under each down arrow indicates, students will be asked to: (1) first demonstrate understanding of nonduality by coming up with their own examples, (2) next make interpretations about the concept by playing a game, and (3) at the end of the unit create an original project based on what they have learned. I am not sure whether this—or any of the other arrows in the graphic, for that matter—complicates or contributes to the overview.
The more I look at it now, the more I wonder if this graphic is a bad example of the overuse of organizational cues, as shown in the first boxed graphic at the bottom of page 82 of our textbook (Lohr, 2008). Honest opinions and constructive criticism are more than welcome!
Lohr, L. (2008). Creating graphics for learning and performance: Lessons in visual literacy (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Merrill/Prentice Hall.