Tag Archives: Data Display of the Day

Data Display of the Day: How does the brain retain information?

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Audience retention and application are top concerns for presenters of all forms–teachers, public speakers, leaders, interviewees. Ensuring that our audiences not only retain the information we present to them but also find a way to apply and implement that information through experience is what drives much of our content development, visual design, and delivery processes. There are several models available to us that can help us understand how to create content that our audience will retain including the Made to Stick model I’ve previously discussed and John Medina’s brilliant Brain Rules. In this introductory video to the Brain Rules concept and the first rule, “Exercise boosts brain power,” Medina explains just why we need to understand how the brain works in order to best maximize its potential–in essence, it’s because our modern business and educational environments are designed to work against our natural brain rules (cubicles, stationary desks in sterile classrooms).

Today’s data display, which comes by way of Daily Infographic, provides further insight into the brain, how it works, and how it retains information. Created by mindflash.com, “How does the brain retain information?” first explains where information is stored in the brain. As presenters, we should recognize that how we structure and present our content will appeal to a different part of the brain (literally, it will cause our electrical systems to fire neurons in that particular portion of the brain). For instance, when we use pathos or ideas that appeal to emotion, we are tapping into the amygdala (which also happens to be the root of presentation anxiety); when we apply the picture superiority effect, we fire a complex series of actions in the cortical structures of our audiences’ brains: the occipital lobe processes the visual information, the parietal lobe pairs that visual with the text on that visual, and if we do our work well, the frontal and temporal lobes store that information in our working and long-term memory (hence why applying the picture superiority effect–pairing image and text together leads to 65% greater retention of information).

So that’s where the brain stores information, but how does it actually store that information and retain it? The second part of today’s infographic describes a working theory for this process, which is still somewhat of a mystery. What is interesting about this complex system is that everything begins with electrical impulses.  In a flash, the brain reacts to external stimuli, synapses fire, and the brain then sorts and stores information into short term, working, and long term memory. Check out the infographic below and consider how your content, visuals, and delivery impact your audience’s ability to turn your information into working or long-term memory aka retention.

 

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Data Displays of the Day: Online Discussion and Online Contact

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One of the big topics up for discussion this year among my colleagues is engagement. As online numbers continue to grow, the need for engaging our online learners increases. Research has shown that synchronous engagement in the online environment is what leads to student success and student learning beyond Bloom’s lower levels. Engagement, however, can be difficult when one has a demanding schedule or when students don’t seem as connected to course content and ideas as they would be in a campus class. Today’s infographics, both created by Mia MacMeekin, curator of the blog An Ethical Island and founder of Epigogy Inc., a company whose mission is to improve instruction and instructional design. The first infographic, Online Student Contact, provides some practical tips on interacting with students online. My favorite tip is “don’t forget about the A students.” Often, it’s easy to focus on challenging students over those who excel; acknowledging amazing work can help inspire other students to grow!

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The second infographic covers a specific facet of online contact and engagement, online discussion boards. I can admit wholeheartedly that this is one of my most challenging. An important tip Mia shares here is always praise something in every discussion post. Again, as above, it’s easy to focus on negativity, but too much turns a student off of learning and could lead that student to failure.

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Are you a teacher or trainer? How do you engage your students? What do you find works best?

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Data Display of the Day: Climbing the Mountain of Resumes

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As the PCP reboot really takes off, Alex Rister and I are working on developing our weekly lessons/modules using a blend of video, image, and text-based instructional assets. Our ultimate goal for the reboot is to help our students understand what the true connection between effective presenting and professional success is. Why do they need to analyze their growth as professionals so far? How does this analysis better serve them when they present themselves online or in person? I truly believe that communicating and presenting your ideas to others is the most important skill a professional at any level can learn, especially when it comes to landing that dream job, keeping that dream job, and finding others with whom to collaborate. Today’s infographic can help our students take the project they create in Professional Communication and Presentation and present it in a way that is going to help them climb to the top of the resume mountain. This infographic, created by Kelly Services, provides job seekers with some excellent advice (some of which I really need to take on!). The connecting thread is audience awareness and adaptation. Just as in a strong presentation, a job seeker must adapt to his or her audience’s needs to better persuade and motivate them to act.

1. Make sure your resume aligns with your target company

Creating a different resume for each company may seem tedious, but it can make the difference between a resume that catches a recruiter’s eye and a resume that gets put in the virtual or physical trashcan.

2. Know your target company’s culture

As the infographic explains, in our age of connectivity and instant access to information, it’s easier than ever to conduct research on a company and adapt your approach to their needs.

3. Be confident and attentive

Those who are hiring you want to hire someone who is confidence in his or her abilities (not cocky!) and who is “present” during an interview. Show recruiters you are confident that you are not only a good fit for the job but also that you are confident in your definition of what it means to be a professional.

4. Don’t forget to say thank you

Whether via an email or phone call, show gratitude for the time your “audience” gave you.

What are your interview “must dos”? What did you do to land that dream job?

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Data Display of the Day: Get the Most out of Google

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Google has become the bane of many a teacher’s existence. Yes, it’s an incredibly useful tool for research and learning, and it has made it easier for us to access the world’s information. But, it’s also made our students lazy and reductive when it comes to research. When I was in school, research meant going to a library, opening up the creaky cabinets of a card catalog filled with typed dewey decimals, authors, a terse description of the work, and a location. To find credible and viable research, I had to decipher that card, pore through shelves of hard bound journals, find my article, read it, copy it, and handwrite a citation using the MLA Handbook (I won’t say which edition) as a guide. This process reaffirmed the worth of that source to me; it forced me to really think about how I searched for information; it emphasized that good research is a process–sometimes a lengthy one. In graduate school, this process was streamlined by the introduction of online databases, which saved me a trip to the library, a bit of search time, but no less emphasized that good research as some quantifiable characteristics–a credible author, a spot in a reputable publication, and verifiable sources of information.

Today, my students cringe at the thought of using these databases and wonder why they can’t just type in a random search term–“banning pitbulls is wrong”–in Google, indiscriminately grab the first three results including Wikipedia and call their research process complete after 10 minutes. The downside of Google’s openness and ease is that it reinforces in students that if it’s on Google, it’s perfectly good to use, even if the source is clearly not credible (no author, a dubious author with no credentials or experience, extreme bias, zero publication information).

Today’s infographic, created by HackCollege.com and found via Daily Infographic
helps move students’ use of Google in the right direction, and helps curb a big problem they found: “3 out of 4 students couldn’t perform a ‘well-executed search’ on Google” (Source). The infographic is easy to navigate and is organized first by using operators to streamline the type of information a student wants to find (statistics, examples, etc.). One of my favorite tips is “don’t ask Google questions.” Google is not a person, it’s not going to understand what source is best if you want to know the average air speed of a swallow unless you use operators like “intitle:” (I love this operator–it helps reinforce scholarly research as opposed to general education sites; if velocity is in the title of a pdf document, chances are you are moving closer to a paper conducting research on the average velocity of birds).

Next, the infographic covers Google Scholar, a rarely used subset of Google that can direct students to the exact type of research they SHOULD be using in papers and presentations. The infographic then introduces students to some tips, tricks, and hotkeys (did you know Google could do math for you??). Finally, students are given three other important tips: 1. use the library; 2. don’t cite wikipedia, check the references instead; 3. look to a source’s bibliography for more great information.

This is sure to become an asset in the PCP reboot for both online and campus students!


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Data Display of the Day: The Secrets of Happy Couples

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Though I don’t devote much time to discussing my personal life via Tweak Your Slides, I am happy to say that I am coming up on one year with my tender ginger beard of a boyfriend.

His silliness definitely adds to the gaggilion reasons why this one is a keeper.

His silliness definitely adds to the gaggilion reasons why this one is a keeper.

This is only the second time in my life that I’ve celebrated Valentine’s Day with a partner. It’s not something I regret, but something I celebrate. Having been single for most of my life has made me a stronger, more resilient and self-reliant person. But, it also means I have a lot to learn about how a strong relationship works. Today’s infographic, which comes by way of Daily Infographic and was created by Happify, is a great tool for comparison. While one cannot completely codify what makes a relationship work, by analyzing data related to what makes couples happy, we can get a bit closer to understanding what it takes to have a happy relationship:

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Data Display of the Day: Everything You Need to Know About 2013 Music Sales

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Driving to work today, I realized just how long it’s been since I purchased a piece of physical music, whether CD or vinyl. It isn’t that I don’t love music, it’s just that Spotify and other streaming sites have now become my dominant vehicle for listening to and exploring music. Through sites like Spotify and Pandora, I’ve discovered artists I would have otherwise only learned about from my local record shop, Park Ave. Cds. Because it’s so much easier to simply stream the artist and because these sites provide me with similar artists and a plethora of information on the artists folks are listening to know, I don’t see myself going back to the days of perusing through hundreds of albums and cds, listening patiently to the radio to hear my favorite song, or even buying albums digitally. The impact of streaming is the main focus of today’s infographic, “Everything You Need to Know About 2013 Music Sales.” Some interesting takeaways from this infographic:

  • There’s been a 32% increase in streaming from 2012 to 2013 and a 6% decrease in album sales.
  • In 2013, there were 118 billion music streams, which would have meant 59 million in album sales.
  • R&B and Rap were the only two genres that saw an increase in album sales in 2013.
  • People are buying more vinyl now than they have in the past, but overall vinyl sales only accounted for 2% of the industry.

Check out the infographic, created by Rolling Stone, below and the accompanying article from Daily Infographic by clicking the image.

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Data Display of the Day: Two Grammar Infographics

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Today’s data display offerings are all about grammar. Though I have been teaching public speaking, business communication, and presenting for the past five years, I still work to emphasize in my students that they should devote sufficient time to grammar and mechanics in both written, visual, and verbal communication.  An interview and potential job can be lost over a misplaced comma; an audience’s understanding of your subject can be lost through a misused or misspelled word. As David McCandless says, we are all now data visualizers; we demand a visual aspect to our information. So, a great way to brush up on grammar and mechanics is through the various grammar visualizations found on sites like The Oatmeal. Two particularly useful infographics help users navigate through the often confusing (and in English departments, feud inducing) world of punctuation.

The first is “The Oxford Comma”, created by OnlineSchools.com. This infographic tackles the controversial use of this most ubiquitous of punctuation marks. Did you know that the Oxford comma isn’t actually used by Oxford University’s PR department?

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The second example comes from my favorite site, The Oatmeal created and curated by Matt Inman, whose Ignite talk I shared with you yesterday. Apostrophes have become one of the most incorrectly used forms of punctuation in our first draft digital culture. Inman’s flowchart moves the user through when to and when not to use an apostrophe and includes excellently funny examples. To view the rest of this visualization, please click on the image below.

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(Source: The Oatmeal.com)

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Data Display of the Day: Wealth On a Plane

I ran across this visualization from visual.ly, and it upset, enlightened, and intrigued me.

It truly speaks to the power of using relatable imagery paired with strong design, clear organization, and relevant statistics. It’s also an awesome example of progressive disclosure. I am still working on my unemployment slides for the Tweak your Resume debut, and I may have to abandon them for now, as I am far behind on my launch date for this deck and the stat is really being used for a small idea in a bigger presentation. I’ve now included some progressive disclosure; I am hoping it will move me in the right direction!
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Enjoy today’s Data Display!

 

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Data Display of the Day: Studying Abroad

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As a subscriber to Daily Infographic, I receive a daily dose of data visualization awesomeness in my in box. Today’s share comes from the newest contributor to Daily Infographic, Lindsey Lawrence. Lindsey shares with readers a very useful visualization for young folks considering studying (or teaching) overseas created by Course Hero, a site devoted to providing college students with useful supplements to their formal instruction. My 18-year-old sister is currently in the process of choosing where she will complete her undergraduate study. Although studying abroad hasn’t come up as an option yet, it’s an opportunity I wish I’d taken advantage of as a student (hint, hint, Karen Kacir…just a semester!).

(Original Source)

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