Through immediate and direct interaction and manipulation, a visual learner can learn quicker using semiotics familiar to the discipline of study.
Symbols as metaphors are a necessary and integral part of navigation design today. They help the user find information quickly by bridging the gap between the real and the virtual world through translating familiar objects into digital pixels that the user can visually relate to. 
For example, when we see an exclamation mark both in reality and on a web page, we intuitively know that it represents a problem, or when we see a trash can, we know automatically that it is used to discard unwanted items.In “ What Games Have to Teach Us about Learning and Literacy, ” James P. Gee highlights the importance of targeting metaphors to its users language. This intimacy can make it easier for the user to engage with technology in the virtual space more intuitively and effectively, even if he or she hasn’t been to the web site before. 
Both James P. Gee  and Martin J. Eppler  argue that semiotics are used in the physical and the virtual world to help us understand complex and abstract ideas through familiar concepts. A good example of such metaphors is the Yahoo Body Map website which connects a virtual human body to understanding body parts and their functions. 
As users of the new technology, we all have different ways of processing information and learning. Some learn better through watching video tutorials, while others learn more effectively through visualization and direct manipulation with an object through softwares and applications.
In “ Computers as Mind tools for Engaging Learners in Critical Thinking, ” David H. Jonassen argues that visualization tools are the most effective way to engage with the computer by providing instruments that assist the user to translate mental images into rough presentations of those images; thus helping the visual learner to understand abstract concepts more efficiently. 
For example, MacSpartan visualization tools enables chemistry students to view, rotate, and measure molecules using different views and also to modify or construct new molecules to make abstract chemistry concepts much easier to understand. Other tools such as Photoshop allows the user to manipulate color values by moving the color sliders around to create new colors and see immediate results for a direct interactive experience.
Today, the new online tools have allowed access to a wealth of information at the click of a button. With the introduction of HTML 5 and CSS3, visual metaphors have become part of the new web trends in how users interact online. 
However, these new forms of communication and technology haven’t reached the standard online educational management systems. Blackboard and Moodle, as the dominant eLearning platforms in the United States, use a ‘one size fits all’ linear and threaded interactivity structure that may work well for math students, but may not be so effective for design or art students. 
Other Educational websites such as Sakai provide open source collaboration and learning environments for research in higher education, but again falls short in providing tools for learners of visual disciplines. 
Apple In Education is the most promising educational platform tool today that teaches science and math among other classes through visualization and direct manipulation using apps on an iPad for student learners. But this technology is not available to the majority of students who may not be Mac users due to cost, accessibility or geographical location. 
In today’s eLearning environment it is essential that educators provide the students various meaningful learning tools for accessing and processing information, so the students could decide which method of learning is best suited for their needs, allowing a more engaging and rewarding learning experience and outcome.
In ‘Web Course Design with Topic-case Drive Methodology’, Leena Hiltunen suggests that virtual learning platforms need to change the way the information is presented to student users and not just “translating” books or lectures on a web page. She proposes that by presenting information in more than one format, students can become more encouraged and participate more actively in their learning process instead of becoming passive ‘TV viewers’. 
According to David H. Jonassen, when students are empowered to make decisions about the tools that support their personal approaches to learning, they are able to grow further control over their learning process. He further argues that computers should be used as tools that help learners to build knowledge by allowing the student to choose the method best suited for their needs instead of being controlled by them. 
To improve and facilitate the eLearning experience for visual learners, this thesis proposes designing a customized application as a visual learning tool through direct manipulation and interaction with a virtual DSLR camera for beginning photography eLearning students. 
Through direct manipulation with virtual sliders and dials, and by seeing immediate changes and results, the students can visually learn about basic technical photography concepts such as aperture setting, shutter speed, film speed and color corrector settings. For example, the color correct slider can visually and directly help the student understand about color theory and how adding or subtracting a color value can affect the overall image. This immediate and direct hands-on manipulation and interaction with an application offering immediate visual feedback can provide a better understanding of abstract photography concepts for eLearning students.
Even though there are some standalone online tools such as Camera Simulator that provide a similar yet limited experience, what makes this proposed solution unique is that this application will be presented in an interactive educational website, alongside with in depth lesson plans covering beginning photography topics both in theory and practice, visual examples, video tutorials, and step by step directions and illustrations as downloadable PDF files, all directly related to the lesson at hand. 
This ‘one stop shop’ website would minimize the need for the student to leave the site in search of finding relevant resources or tools to complete their projects. Furthermore, by providing multiple visual tools and resources, the students can choose the method that is best suited for their learning process; thus providing a more balanced and well rounded and rewarding eLearning experience.
1- Smashing Magazine | Website
2- What video Games have to teach us about learning and literacy | Jmaes Paul Gee | PDF
3- Good Video Games and Good Learning | James Paul Gee | PDF
4- The Image of Insight: The Use of Visual Metaphors in the Communication of Knowledge | Martin J. Eppler | PDF
5- Yahoo Body Map | Website
6- Computers as Mind tools for Engaging Learners in Critical Thinking | David H. Jonassen | PDF
8- Towards a Fusion of Formal and Informal Learning Environments: the Impact of the Read/Write Web | Richard Hall | De Montfort University, UK | PDF |
9- Moodle vs. Blackboard: A Comparative Analysis of Learning Management Systems | Cantrell, Hare, Randle | http://web.nmsu.edu/~jillhare/portfolio/myportfolio/Moodle%20vs%20Blackboard.pdf
11- Apple in Education
12- Web Course Design With Topic – Case Driven Methdology | PDF
13- Computers as Mind tools for Engaging Learners in Critical Thinking | David H. Jonassen | PDF
14- DSLR Camera
15- Camera Simulator