Some Visual Literacy Initiatives in Academic Institutions: A Literature Review from 1999 to the Present

Some Visual Literacy Initiatives in Academic Institutions: A Literature Review from 1999 to the Present by Barbara Blummer

The ubiquitousness of images in the digital era highlights the importance of individuals’ visual communication skills in the 21st Century. We conducted a literature review of visual literacy initiatives in academic institutions to illustrate best practices for imparting these skills in students. The literature review identified five categories of visual literacy educational strategies in academic institutions including: the availability of instructional scaffolds, faculty’s creation of activities and assignments aimed at increasing students’ abilities to interpret and create visual images, lectures and readings that promoted visual design principles, the development of programs and courses centered on visual communication, and research initiatives that sought to identify and improve individuals’ skills in communicating visually. The latter two strategies remained especially popular in institutions outside of the United States. All of the efforts served to focus attention to the importance of visual literacy competencies in higher education.

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