The importance of visual literacy in the education of biochemists*

Authors

  • Konrad J. Schönborn,

  • Trevor R. Anderson

    Corresponding author
    1. Science Education Research Group, School of Biochemistry, Genetics, Microbiology and Plant Pathology, University of KwaZulu-Natal (Pietermaritzburg), P/Bag X01, Scottsville 3209, South Africa
    • Science Education Research Group, School of Biochemistry, Genetics, Microbiology and Plant Pathology, University of KwaZulu-Natal (Pietermaritzburg), P/Bag X01, Scottsville 3209, South Africa
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  • *

    This work was supported by grants from the National Research Foundation (GUN number 2053218) and by a postdoctoral fellowship from the University of KwaZulu-Natal Research Fund.

Abstract

Visualization is an essential skill for all students and biochemists studying and researching the molecular and cellular biosciences. In this study, we discuss the nature and importance of visualization in biochemistry education and argue that students should be explicitly taught visual literacy and the skills for using visualization tools as essential components of all biochemistry curricula. We suggest that, at present, very little pedagogical attention has been given to this vital component of biochemistry education, although a large diversity of static, dynamic, and multimedia visual displays continues to flood modern educational resources at an exponential rate. Based on selected research findings from other science education domains and our own research experience in biochemistry education, 10 fundamental guidelines are proposed for the promotion of visualization and visual literacy among students studying in the molecular and cellular biosciences.

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