Although nurse educators are experts in their area of specialty and in the discipline of nursing, many do not understand how to apply the principles of visual literacy to effectively teach. Nurses and nurse educators receive information regarding verbal communication but little or no education regarding visual communication or visual literacy. Visual literacy can be used by nurse educators to enhance learner perception and support learner cognition. In today’s learning environment, students are technologically savvy and visual stimulation is an expectation. This article describes the use of visual literacy as a tool to enhance student learning. Concepts that provide a framework for understanding visual literacy, including repetition, integration, hierarchy, and simplicity, are described. The effectiveness of visual literacy is also discussed, followed by a presentation of a visual literacy tool created to teach transcultural nursing and the culture care theory to nursing students in an online environment. A review of the challenges encountered, use and critique of the tool by nurse educators across the country, and a process for continuing evaluation conclude the article. A copy of the visual literacy teaching tool is made available to readers using the URL address on the World Wide Web.
Sandra J. Mixer, Marilyn R. McFarland, and Leigh Ann McInnis. "Visual Literacy in the Online Environment" Nursing Clinics of North America 43.4 (2008): 575-582.