Visual literacy: a definition problem


  • Yvonne Vezzoli


In 1969 John Debes coined the expression “visual literacy” and he opened
the way for a new research branch. Throughout the years this concept autonomously developed within several disciplines, one of which is represented
by the Educational Sciences. This paper aims to critically analyse
how a group of studies selected through a systematic review process adopt
the concept of visual literacy in educational contexts. More specifically, the
goal is to understand (i) which definitions are used in each research work,
(ii) what research questions or theoretical issues are addressed among the
selected studies, and (iii) if they are present, interesting methodologies to
investigate those questions. Results show a lack of shared definitions of the
concept and the necessity of building an interdisciplinary dialogue that
deeply analyses the educational potentials and related competences of visual
literacy in school and non-school contexts.



How to Cite

Vezzoli, Y. (2017). Visual literacy: a definition problem. Formazione & Insegnamento, 15(2 Suppl.), 211–218. Retrieved from