Adult Learning Centres GBG enhance visual learning through free and/or inexpensive online image tools

December 1st, 2010 by Monika Jankowska-Pacyna

The many different and complex ways that people learn is fascinating. Our goal at Adult Learning Centres Grey-Bruce-Georgian (GBG) is to support our students in their learning journeys. We develop new educational tools (and modify existing ones) to meet the needs of our diverse learner population.


We appeal to the various learning styles of the community members we serve by offering the opportunity to share ideas and concepts through more than just text or oral instruction. We see real value in incorporating graphics, videos, and other images.

Adult literacy programs, in particular, face unique challenges, as funding can be scarce despite the labour-intensive instruction traditionally used to teach basic literacy. Learning from a distance or on-site through computers connects students to open learning at their convenience.

Visual learning benefits all types of learners

Visual and interactive learning tools have the potential to stimulate learners who may otherwise struggle to digest text or to understand oral instruction. In addition, learners of all skill levels may become more engaged and even excited as we present concepts and information in a visual way.

Technology further enhances the services we are able to offer learners by helping us to reduce labour expenditures. Lessons and instructions can be recorded and the process of presentation automated, to engage the learner and lessen hands-on instruction. This does not take away from the individualized teaching experience, but complements it.

At Adult Learning Centres Grey-Bruce-Georgian, we have found a number of innovative uses for two particularly helpful image/video capturing and editing tools, Jing and Snagit.

Demonstrate processes and concepts with short videos

Jing is a free image or video capturing tool available at One of its unique features is the ability to email or share via social media screenshots or short videos, allowing users in other locations to see exactly what you see on the screen. We have used this practical application in staff meetings, with outside organizations, and with students, to quickly and easily explain visually a concept that would otherwise have been difficult to describe.


Picture courtesy of

Use Jing to create a short, narrated video instead of explaining how to navigate your website to each of your students. Jing records the screen, the actions of your mouse, and your voice as you go over the front page of the website, explaining each tab and button. The result is a professional instructional video you can embed in your website to welcome visitors and show them around.

Edit, create, and design with Snagit Photo Editing

Snagit is a unique image capturing tool. The editing features are more advanced than those of other comparable free tools. You can load several images or screen captures to edit and manipulate them at the same time. Snagit allows us to combine pictures and text to illustrate difficult math concepts, or to demonstrate to a funding agency exactly how we perform a certain task on the computer. This software is a helpful tool when creating manuals, marketing material, lessons, and more.

Using this tool, we are able to capture a screenshot – a picture – of a student’s blog and add our own text and markings to provide feedback on their design and writing. Our students don’t need to convert their blog posts to a printable format, and they don’t have to reconcile our spoken words with elements they created online.

The visual impact of this type of teaching is enormous. Complex explanations become simple.  Ideas in theory are more easily demonstrated in pictures than words. Graphics complement our oral, written, and hands-on teaching tools.

That these tools are free and/or fairly inexpensive to use is just the icing on the cake! Download a free 30 Day trial of Snagit to start editing your existing images and capturing screenshots.

Explore Jing and SnagIt – quick and easy ways to take screenshots and screencasts! to learn more about these tools.

Adult Learning Centres Grey-Bruce-Georgian have been delivering local literacy and upgrading services in Bruce and Grey Counties since 1983. There are Adult Learning Centres in Wiarton, Brockton, Markdale, Saugeen Shores, Owen Sound and Collingwood. These sites support many locations within the local area. There are thirty distinct locations and/or delivery models (small group, large group, one-to-one) offered. Adult Learning Centre staff typically have post secondary education and experience working with adults seeking upgrading, training, employment and / or lifeskills.

The Adult Learning Centres are community based and student centered. Students access the Adult Learning Centres for a variety of reasons. Some students may have a goal that is directly related to finding and keeping employment. Some may have a specific goal such as obtaining a driver’s license. Others may have educational and / or training goals.