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This course is part of the Data Visualisation ExpertTrack

Data Visualisation: Core Elements and Theories

Learn the fundamentals of data visualisation – from core components to interactive elements.

Data Visualisation: Core Elements and Theories
  • Duration4 weeks
  • Weekly study4 hours
  • 100% onlineLearn at your own paceHow it works
  • Included in an ExpertTrackCourse 1 of 3
  • Get full ExpertTrack access$39/monthFind out more

Want to create meaningful data visualisations that fuel decision making and growth within your business?

This course teaches you the basics – from individual elements and relationships through to data preparation in Tableau.

You’ll learn design theories and how to identify important dashboard elements before moving onto hands-on exercises.

Explore core data visualisation theories before creating beautiful dashboards

Identifying the components of an effective data visualisation is the first step to creating and presenting impactful dashboards for your business. You’ll cover design considerations and theories when creating charts and presenting complex relationships using data.

Learn how to import and prepare data in Tableau

Tableau is used by countless industries around the world, including companies such as Experian, Siemens, Coca-Cola, and Nissan. You’ll use this market-leading software throughout this course and ExpertTrack, starting with learning to prepare your data.

Build charts and interactive elements to supercharge your data visualisations

Once you’ve mastered the theory and the basics, you’ll move on to building up your dashboards with common chart types and interactive elements within Tableau, offering you a variety of ways to present and review your data sets.

By the end of this course, you’ll feel confident identifying useful areas of Tableau, will have a foundation in data visualisation theory, and be ready to move onto creating your dashboards and distributing them within your organisation.


  • Week 1

    Introduction to the course and data visualization

    • Introduction

      This week you’ll learn the theory behind effective visualisations design and steps to create data visualisations.

    • Data design fundamentals

      You've already had some experience using visualisation to help analyse data, but now it’s time to dive into creating visualisations to communicate insights and trends to others.

    • Weekly wrap up

      Wrap up of week 1

  • Week 2

    Designing charts and visualizing complex relationships

    • Introduction

      Introduction to the week's topics and outcomes

    • Designing charts

      In this activity we’ll recap some of the common chart types and look at some of the do’s and don'ts for designing them

    • Visualising complex relationships

      In this activity we’ll see how to present information about geographical locations, how to use heatmaps, and how to display measures of certainty on your charts.

    • Wrap up

      Wrap up of week 2

  • Week 3

    Introduction to using Tableau for data visualization

    • Introduction

      Introduction to Week 3

    • Getting started with Tableau

      This week you’ll become familiar with Tableau, and will learn how to import and prepare data.

    • Weekly wrap up

      Reflect on what you've learnt this week.

  • Week 4

    Charts and interactive visualizations in Tableau

    • Introduction

      This week you’ll learn how to create data visualisations in Tableau.

    • Creating charts in Tableau

      You'll learn to describe the chart types available in Tableau, and create basic charts in Tableau.

    • Interactive visualisations

      So far, you’ve explored how Tableau can make your life easy – from seamlessly loading the data, to visualising charts. In this activity, we’ll see how you can bring your data to life by making it interactive.

    • Wrap up

      Wrap up of Week 2.

Prove you're job ready

Highlight the new, job-relevant skills you’ve gained and supplement existing qualifications with a hard-earned, industry-specific digital certificate – plus one for every course within your ExpertTrack.

  • Learn the latest in your chosen industry or subject.
  • Complete each course and pass assessments.
  • Receive certificates validated by the educating organisation.
  • Create a shareable certificate link for your CV and LinkedIn.
  • Impress employers with learning outcomes you can add to your CV.
  • Make your career dreams a reality.

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What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Identify components of an effective visualisation
  • Recognise the design considerations when creating charts and visualising complex relationships
  • Articulate how to import and prepare data in Tableau
  • Identify common chart types and interactive elements in Tableau

Who is the course for?

This course is for professionals who wish to build their data visualisation skills to successfully meet the demands of their roles, or to progress into new opportunities.

This may include:

  • business professionals looking to progress in their current role
  • career starters wanting to develop their data visualisation capabilities to increase their chances of meaningful career progression and promotion
  • business or arts graduates who want to enter a professional role by adding quantitative skills, including data visualisation techniques and predictive modeling.

What software or tools do you need?

During the course we’ll be using Tableau Public and Excel. If you don’t have Excel, you might find this online version useful.

We recommend you use a computer to access this course.

Who will you learn with?

Alastair has over 15 years of experience in data science, across business and academia as a researcher, speaker, mentor, consultant and software engineer.

Who developed the course?


FutureLearn is jointly owned by The Open University and The SEEK Group and has been providing online courses for learners around the world over the last eight years.

In collaboration with


Endorsed by

endorsed by

Coventry University logo

About this ExpertTrack

Supercharge your business problem solving through better data insights, analytics, and visualisation.

Learning on FutureLearn

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  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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