VisualAzure is a visual storytelling project with three objectives:
Consistency| Build a visual vocabulary for Azure – starting with Azure Fundamentals .
Content| Create a visual study guide for Azure Certifications - starting with AZ-900.
Community| Support learning conversations using the related Discussions forum.
What is a visual vocabulary? | A visual vocabulary uses graphical elements (images, iconography, typography, composition) to communicate ideas or concepts to an audience. By replacing walls of text with visuals, we draw attention to the eye - adding clarity (fewer words) and improving retention and recall (more patterns).
What is a visual study guide? | A study guide is a resource for exam preparation that organizes information, defines a clear vocabulary, and provides options for practicing ideas or doing deeper dives into concepts. With the visual study guide the goal is to supplement these notes with visuals that summarize or synthesize larger sections of text. Check Posts for sketchnotes linked to specific modules or submodule units.
How can you use the study guide? | There is no substitute for completing the learning paths, and taking the practice exams, to build your own understanding and prep for exams. This guide can help in three ways:
Pre-Path Review| Quickly scan the sketchnote before you dive into the related module or unit. It can help set context for terminology or workflows, and help you process the informartion faster. It might also help you “see” new connections or reinforce existing ones.
Post-Path Notes| Writing things down always helps with clarity and recall. Think about creating your own notes (visual or text) as you review the path. Use the visual vocabulary from the sketchnote as inspiration to build on and strengthen the connections your mind has already made.
Pre-Exam Review| Scan the sketchnotes for a learning path to test your recall of the material. Get a sense of where your knowledge strengths and gaps lie, and prioritize your time on the latter as you get closer to the exam. In my case, I can more easily recall an entire sketchnote (layout and contents) than pages of text or minutes of video.
Azure Fundamentals is a 6-part series of foundational learning paths for understanding cloud computing in general, and the Microsoft Azure platform in particular. This is a beginner-friendly series that can be completed at your own pace, with an Azure sandbox environment (no account needed) for hands-on experience. This series is also the recommended learning resource for preparing for the AZ-900 Certification exam.
You can build on this with other Fundamentals learning paths and certifications including Azure Data Fundamentals and Azure AI Fundamentals. Look at the Guide for a roadmap with relevant learning paths for each.
Humans learn in many ways - by reading and writing (e.g., text books and blogs), listening (e.g., lectures and podcasts), doing (e.g., hands-on tutorials and projects) and seeing (e.g., charts and visualizations). When it comes to technical documentation and training, visual notes (aka sketchnotes) have some benefits:
- Diverse Perspectives - Visual notes reflect that individual’s perspective of the topic, often revealing personal insights that improve our collective understanding of that topic.
- Inclusive Vocabulary - Images and visual cues (icons, symbols, colors) can translate meaning more consistently (than text) across languages - making it easier for everyone to consume.
- Faster Connections - Visual cues can help us make connections quickly - detecting familiar patterns and extrapolating on existing knowledge to transfer learning to new topics.
Interested in building your visual storytelling skills? Check out this free workshop series to get started.
Questions Or Comments?
I would love to hear about your own learning or visual storytelling journeys, and about ways to make this a better learning resource for everyone. And definitely share your goals and your wins (large and small) - I’m here to cheer on the first, and amplify the second!
Hi, I’m Nitya! I’m a Senior Cloud Advocate on the Developer Relations team at Microsoft! My interests span mobile & web development, machine learning and distributed systems. I’m also a long time sketchnoter and community organizer, and see visual storytelling as a key tool for communicating complex concepts in more inclusive ways that are easier to understand, retain and recall, by anyone.