Creating resources: visual digital presentation

Screenshot of Prezi presentation and visual representation of ideas

Within the Yorkshare VLE you can easily link to learning resources you have created. You may already by uploading  lecture slides, readings or resources to support specific learning activities. However, often these resources are text-based, linear and don’t exploit the creative and interactive media formats that can be produced digitally.

To show what is possible, we have created a series of videos to support your digital presentation creativity, along with summaries of what approaches and tools you could use:

The video resources have also been designed for use by students in the creation of digital presentations. Feel free to use them with your students as appropriate.

Beyond text

Text alone may not be the best choice to convey a complex idea or process. There is ample literature to support the idea of multimodality (presenting ideas simultaneously with text and visual or auditory media), in particular Sweller et al. (1998) and Mayer (2009). Specifically relating to text instructions or descriptions of physical events, Schweppe et al. (2015, p.25) explain that during learning, students who only have text-based resources will “infer relations that are only implicitly expressed in the text” in order to build a “mental model”, sometimes incorrectly. By presenting ideas visually, the mental model is more explicit, reducing the impact of misinterpretations of text. From a clearer understanding of core concepts, students are then better equipped to apply these ideas in further learning activities.

Creating visual elements

To supplement your text-based resources, or indeed to better explain a process or relationship, you can use the tools and approaches detailed in the guides above to create images and animations. At a simple level, you can use a tool such as Piktochart or even PowerPoint’s SmartArt feature to create a graphic and save it as an image file which you can then upload into the VLE or paste onto a presentation slide.


Allowing students to utilise learning resources at their own pace will enable them to draw upon the resource within their private study and also provides opportunities for more student-led learning designs. For example, a resource can be created as a stimulus for problem-based learning that may provide specific detail supporting a solution or extraneous information. These visual environments provide a context and narrows down all the possible resources to a select few that the students can realistically draw upon within the time limits of an activity. The student (individually or in groups) must make a judgement to decide how they can use the resource to address a particular problem. Quite an authentic learning approach that mirrors the problem-solving process in the workplace.

Such visual resources may include, for example, custom Google Maps where links to learning resources are placed geographically and their relationship with the physical environment provides key contextual information. Alternatively, you may use Padlet or a Prezi that has been designed to present resources, grouped together by common ideas or using a visual metaphor to explain their relationship to each other.

The advantage of platforms like Padlet, Google Maps or Google Docs is that they can be participative. These spaces don’t have to be constrained to one-way transmission of content, but can (assuming you have set up an activity that encourages students to contribute) become owned by both you and your students. With sharing settings on these online platforms, the content can be added to and edited by other contributors.

Whilst interactive and exploratory learning resources offer different forms of learning approach, they will not work where the resources are being provided passively as additional content. You will still need to direct students to specific resources using sign-posting techniques in your instructions, else the resources, no matter how engaging, may go overlooked.


Mayer, R. E. (2009). Multimedia Learning. 2nd Edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Schweppe, J., Eitel, A.and Rummer, R. (2015). The multimedia effect and its stability over time, Learning and Instruction, 38, pp.24-33.

Sweller, J., van Merrienboer, J.J.G. and Paas, F.G.W.C. (1998). Cognitive Architecture and Instructional Design, Educational Psychology Review, 10(3), pp.251-296.


2 responses to “Creating resources: visual digital presentation

  1. Pingback: E-Learning Newsletter – December 2016 Edition | E-Learning Development Team·

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