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Visual Learning Style: Strategies & Activities

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  • 0:00 Visual Learning Style
  • 0:35 Tips for Visual Learners
  • 2:20 Visual Learners in the…
  • 3:45 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor
Theresa Spanella

Theresa has taught college Writing for 15 years and is two classes from completing a doctorate in Education

Expert Contributor
Jennifer Levitas

Jennifer has a Ph.D. in Psychology. She's taught multiple college-level psychology courses and been published in several academic journals.

This lesson will describe the visual learning style, provide strategies for students, and offer activities that teachers can implement in their classrooms in order to help visual learners better understand course information.

Visual Learning Style

The visual learning style, often referred to as the spatial learning style, is a way of learning in which information is associated with images or graphics. This learning style requires that learners first see what they are expected to know. People with this kind of learning style are often referred to as visual-spatial learners. Other learning styles are auditory and kinesthetic.

Since visual learners process information better when it is in the form of pictures, images, graphics, and charts, it's important that they amend their study routines and cater their learning strategies to their learning style.

Tips for Visual Learners

Visual learners typically have an easy time visualizing information. Because they tend to spend so much time seeing things, they often need to make their study material stand out more or they can become overwhelmed, and the information they are trying to learn can become lost in their minds. To remember information, visual learners could try a few different methods, such as using color in their notes.

Color-Code

Visual learners should invest in a good pack of highlighters of many colors and use the various colors to 'code' information they are learning. For example, related topics can be assigned a specific color in their notes. Colored index cards are also a good tool for visual learners, and colored pens will help keep their attention when taking notes during class.

Draw

They can also draw things they are visualizing. When visual learners 'see' something that helps them to better understand something, they should take a few moments to jot down the image in their mind. This will help them to process what it is they are visualizing.

Create Mind Maps

They can create mind maps. A mind map is a tool visual learners can create to help them visually organize information and is much like a visual outline. These maps center around one topic and include branches for each related main idea. Mind maps can include keywords, examples, images, and more. Many software companies offer free tools for creating online mind maps.

Mind maps allow visual learners to condense large amounts of information into an easy-to-visualize format.
Mind map

Utilizing graphic organizers

Charts and tables are great ways for visual learners to organize information into a visual format that is easy to comprehend.

Using charts helps visual learners to organize information into a way that is easier to understand
Chart

Outlining information contained in textbooks

Reading is often unhelpful to visual learners. To make the most of a reading assignment, visual learners should try to outline the information that is contained in their textbooks. If an outline is too overwhelming to visual learners, they can use the information in their textbook to create a mind map.

Visual Learners in the Classroom

Teachers can also help visual learners to better follow what is happening in the classroom by adding visual learning strategies to classroom activities. To better assist visual learners, teachers can do a number of things, such as:

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Additional Activities

Visual Learning Style Writing Prompts

Writing Prompt 1:

For this activity, imagine that you are a ninth-grade science teacher. You are accustomed to teaching in the "old school" style of lecturing, but recently learned that not all children process auditory information the same way. Many students are so-called visual-spatial learners, who assimilate information most readily if it is processed visually. In order to improve the retention of information by students, you decide to incorporate visual materials into your classroom. For example, you can bring in physical models of compounds, you could post pictures of Darwin with a visual graphic of evolution below it, and you could conduct experiments which illustrate chemical reactions rather than talking about them. In two to three paragraphs, devise a lesson plan as a ninth-grade science teacher that would be useful for students who are visual learners.

Writing Prompt 2:

Visual learners have both strengths and weaknesses. In school, sometimes their weaknesses become apparent because, compared to their peers who are auditory learners, they may not learn information as quickly because they do not learn it as well when reading or hearing it in a classroom setting. For this activity, imagine that you are a school counselor with a group of visual learners. It is your goal to point out the advantages of being a visual learner to them, and to discuss careers in which visual learners tend to excel. For example, visual learners are very good at creating mind maps, which are a useful cognitive organizational tool. Visual learners are often found in careers such as architecture, wherein a person needs to have strong visualization skills to conceptualize and imagine a completed building. In two to three paragraphs, write down what you would say to this group of students about their abilities and possible future careers.

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