Information Visualization
Online Course

Make Sense of Data

Today more than ever, we are living in a very visual environment. At the same time, our world is filled with data that present observations about any phenomena. By visualizing the information, we can better make sense of the data. We can visualize connections, similarities, patterns, or groups of related things; thus, we can better understand the world around us and make informed decisions on complex issues.

Through the Information Visualization online course, you will get familiar with the issues you must know, should know, and what is nice to know regarding visualizing information. The course gives you a concise understanding of what information visualization is, why it is needed and how to get started. It helps you to initiate your visualization and prompts you to pursue your task with adept advice.

Besides watching the material, you are expected to choose a visualization challenge and to apply the lessons learned to it. This way, after taking the course, you will know the benefits of visualizing data for memorizing, decision-making and learning. You will also understand the basics of visual storytelling and explore a range of visualization examples. Additionally, you will be able to identify typical caveats in information visualization and how to overcome them. Finally, you will also get an idea of advanced methods for visualizing and the psychology of seeing and understanding visualizations

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By completing the course, you will get an Aalto EE Information Visualization certificate worth 1.5 ECTS.

Working at your own pace, gain a clear overview of information visualization

Make quantitative data understandable and usable

Acquire skills to argue and impact with your data


Every day, we are confronted with data that aims to impact us in many ways. Understanding how information can be visualized helps us make sense of the data and recognize the underlying facts. This course gives you the understanding and tools to start creating intelligible and impactful visualizations. You will gain a clear overview of information visualization and understand the role and potential of data in creating information visualizations.

Learn the benefits of visualizing data for memorizing, decision-making, and learning
Acquire the basics of visual storytelling
Find advanced methods for visualizing and know how to detect typical caveats and how to overcome them
Explore the psychology of seeing and understanding visualizations


The course is designed for those who want a concise overview of what information visualization is all about. The course focuses on making quantitative data understandable and usable. You may need to understand and learn to decipher visualizations and what´s behind them, or you may want to do visualizations of your own.

If you need to find answers to any of these questions, the course is for you:

  • Is your task to make research results intelligible for investors?  
  • Do you need to make statistics live and compelling? 
  • Are you aiming to recognize and highlight anomalies in large amounts of data? 
  • Will you need to make sense of complex data for your board members?

Contents and Schedule

We encourage an exploratory mindset! This online course is structured into ten online modules. The modules consist of videos and podcasts, reflection tasks, and practical assignments. The modules are followed by interactive questions to check your knowledge along the way. An integral part of your learning will be employing a course workbook for practice, reflection, and later reference. The workbook includes reflection prompts and gives you adept directions on how to advance a visualization project of your own. 

The estimated time of study is five days. The videos´ and podcasts´ duration is approximately ten minutes each. But watching and listening are only part of the story! We urge you to watch and listen to the material more than once to enable learning. At first, you may like to do it at a faster pace. Maybe you like to take a walk while listening to a podcast? Make sure to take breaks to make notes and immerse yourself in your workbook and your visualization challenge. Also, exploit the suggested examples and additional resources.

The course videos are subtitled in English. 

Course structure

Ten Online modules

Videos, podcasts, and narrated visualizations of appr. 10 min each

Knowledge Check

Check your lessons learned


Follow adept directions to start your visualization


Module 1:
Course Introduction, What is Information Visualization?

Module 2:
Elements of Visual Storytelling

Module 3:
Data Universe

Module 4:
Design Principles for Visualizations

Module 5:
Trends and Future of Information Visualizations

Module 6:
Psychology of Visualizing Information 

Module 7:
Purposes of Visualizations: Who does Visualizations and Why 

Module 8:
Basic Methods of Visualizing Information

Module 9:
Explanatory and Exploratory Visualizations

Module 10:
Visualizations for Society and Skills to Create Them

The Course Workbook

For reflection and reference, the online course includes a workbook to support your learning during and after the course. Employing the workbook is an integral part of your learning process.

The workbook includes reflection prompts and offers you directions on how to advance your visualization project. Download it onto your computer. Choose any file format you wish for doing your work, Word, PPT, Miro, Mural etc. Augment the workbook further with content relevant to you and find examples of visualizations in media and on the internet. Explore and practice the topics discussed in the modules, make notes and gather materials or links useful for you.

If you would like to receive feedback for your work from faculty and peers, you may like to continue your studies and join our Information Visualization Hands-on program. Contact us for further information!


Tomi Kauppinen

Tomi Kauppinen is the head of Aalto Online Learning at Aalto University. His background is in media technology and computer science. He aspires to bring an entrepreneurial mindset and lean and agile creativity to all his projects and teaching.

Tomi Kauppinen is the head of Aalto Online Learning at Aalto University. He holds a habilitation (2014) in geoinformatics from the University of Muenster in Germany, a title of docent (2014) and a Ph.D. (2010) in media technology from the Aalto University, and an M.Sc. (2004) in computer science from the University of Helsinki. Kauppinen's passion is to create, study and teach information visualization, spatial thinking, cognitive systems/artificial intelligence & blended learning design. Since 2016 he has led the Aalto University-wide strategic development initiative, Aalto Online Learning, which covers activities ranging from blended learning to fully online textbooks and exercises, and from video production to online social interaction, from artificial intelligence-based recommendations and assessment to interactive visual simulations, and from augmented/virtual reality to games and gamification. With his background in startups before a calling to academia, he aspires to bring an entrepreneurial mindset and lean and agile creativity to all his projects and teaching.

Fee and Registration

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