Selection Principle in Graphic Design


This week I learned about the selection principle in relation to graphic design.  Lohr (2008) states that a graphic should be concise, concentrated, and concrete to maximize selection.  Additionally, the designer should consider the “figure”, or what the learner will pay attention to, and the “ground”, or what the learner will not pay attention to when designing a graphic.

My justification below highlights how I considered the three “C’s” when designing the above graphic.

Justification of Selection-Considered Design

  1. Describe your users (people that will see the typography in the unit).

The users of my unit will be educators, either undergraduate or graduate level, that are learning the Community of Inquiry (COI) Framework in relation to online course design.  It is assumed that they are adults with at least one student experience in online education.  The users would be capable of reading college-level material.

      2. Why does your design solution work?

Concise: I reduced the amount of visual information by keeping fonts and colors basic.  I had originally designed the graphic with a gray background and a black silhouette which caused problems with figure and ground by drawing the attention to the silhouette instead of the words inside the graphic.  The switch to a plain white background and a light gray silhouette helped solve the problem.

Concentrated:  I kept the information in the graphic to the key terms only, instead of defining what each word means.  The definitions of the terms will come in the instruction instead.  This graphic is meant to be a “quick look”, so being concise was necessary.  Additionally, only a silhouette was used in a non-attention grabbing color with the words written inside of the oval where the brain would be.

Concrete: The use of the graphic showing the words inside the brain makes it apparent that the words relate to the brain as a whole.

3.  What did you learn from the “user-test”?

My user-test was performed on the same individual from last week’s assignment.  He helped me determine that the random placements of the words inside the brain made it difficult to read the words, and he suggested I align the words in the way you now see in the graphic.

4.  What changes did you make to the design after the user-test?

I changed the word placement and alignment.  I also tested the black versus gray silhouette just to see figure/ground in action, and we determined the gray silhouette was needed to reduce where the learner’s attention is drawn.



Lohr, L. (2008). Creating graphics for learning and performance (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle                    River, NJ: Pearson Education

The Community of Inquiry Framework and Online Learning Tools

As I reflect on the past two weeks of learning, I realize that there are so many web 2.0 tools out there that I have never even heard of before!  I consider myself to be pretty savvy technologically speaking, but I was blown away by how many learning tools are out there that I have never had the pleasure of playing around with.  Additionally, I had never heard of the community of inquiry framework, although I am quite familiar with John Dewey and his work.  We live in a very exciting time for education, and I cannot wait to experiment with some of the new learning tools I have discovered thanks to my edtech peers.  Most importantly, however, I now know how to evaluate learning tools in reference to the community of inquiry framework, thus ensuring I choose the correct learning tool for the task.

The community of inquiry framework refers to three presences within a virtual classroom.  The three presences are: social presence, teaching presence, and cognitive presence. Social presence references the discussion and communication portion of the course, teaching presence references how the facilitator helps students meet the learning outcomes, and the cognitive presence references how students generate the knowledge throughout the course (Borup, 2014, YouTube community of inquiry).  A blend of the three presences is more effective than a classroom with only one or two presences (Stavredes, 2011).  Additionally, selecting the right online learning tools that can be used to meet the community of inquiry framework is key.  As a future online educator, I do not want to increase my student’s cognitive overload by introducing too many online learning tools.  If the tool is able to meet the needs of all three presences, that is the tool I will most likely choose.

I found myself somewhat overwhelmed with the number of various blogging resources out there, but I do believe blogs are an effective learning log/portfolio, especially at the collegiate level.  I want to remember to allow my students some choice in how they create their blogs.  It seems as if certain blogs are used frequently, but could Twitter even be considered a blog/learning log?  Many social media tools are really blogs with character limits (Hsu & Ching, 2012).

The fact that many of the web 2.0 tools used to meet the needs of the community of inquiry framework are publicly available to anyone searching for it concerns me.  Personally, I am a bit of a private person, and I do not like having to put all of my learning “out there” for the world to see.  Even having a WordPress like this one is out of my comfort zone.  I think anonymity and collegiate blogs are possible, but random people can still find the blog and comment.  I prefer to use something like Google docs to create blog posts as I have the choice regarding access to the blog.  I will allow my students to preserve their online anonymity by providing choices such as Google docs.  And, if I do require social (public) media as a portion of the course, I will allow students to use some kind of “tag” or screen name if they so choose.  Maintaining a social presence in a course should not require students to forfeit their online privacy.

In summary, the community of inquiry framework helps me narrow my choices regarding web 2.0 tools, and I would like to share some of the tools I plan to use in my future classes.  Feel free to check them out yourself, as all of these tools are free.

  1. Kaizena – a Google docs add-on for commenting (text and voice) on documents, record lessons, and monitor skills of students.
  2. VoiceThread – a presentation tool that allows voice, text, and visual aids.  Great alternative to PowerPoint.
  3. – free mind-mapping tool that is simple to use.
  4. Twitter – follow and view comments from a variety of sources, while posting about your education.  Name does not have to be public, and a unique tag can be used.


Borup, J. (2014). Community of inquiry. YouTube. Retrieved from

Hsu, Y. & Ching, Y. (2012). Mobile microblogging: Using Twitter and mobile devices in an online course to promote learning in authentic contexts. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 13(4), 211-227. doi:

Stravredes, T. (2011). Effective online teaching: Foundations and strategies for student success. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.