Picture This!

Picture This!

Are you like me? At conferences or workshops, I sometimes get overwhelmed with the amount of information that’s offered. There’s often too much for me to absorb and retain.

Enter Sam Bradd. Sam is what’s known as a “graphic facilitator”. As people deliver complex ideas, he records what is being said graphically on a giant piece of paper. In recent years, graphic facilitation has become popular. To me, it’s magical!

Graphic facilitators are incredibly skilled. They listen carefully; they think about what’s being said (often on unfamiliar, complex topics); they summarize in their heads what they hear. They come up with images that represent key concepts, and they turn the information being delivered into a visual—on the spot. They’re multi-taskers par excellence: excellent listeners, quick thinkers, and creative artists.

This form of recording information excites me. Confucius, the Chinese philosopher, once said, “I hear and I forget; I see and I remember; I do and I understand.” I learn best when I see what’s happening or experience it.

Sam was the graphic facilitator at the Aurora College Developmental Studies professional development event a few weeks ago. I have a visual story on one piece of paper for each session. I can go back to the visuals again and again. They are a learning tool and a fun way to review information.

This experience reminded me why it’s important for educators to use different approaches since everyone learns differently. Using different strategies boosts learning opportunities for all learners.

At the same time, it can reduce the stress of learning. When I go into an information session, I know I’m not going to be able to absorb all the information and remember it, but when I see Sam step up to his drawing board, I know he will help me ‘get it’.  I feel successful; I relax and enjoy the learning experience.

Isn’t that what we want for adult learners? We want to enhance their learning, we want them to experience success, and, most of all, we want them to enjoy learning.

­— Helen Balanoff, Project Manager

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