We all learn differently. Even without noticing, some of us learn best by “seeing,” others by “hearing,” while other people learn best by “doing.” Understanding a student’s learning style helps educators and parents create a reliable learning environment.
For example, visual learners learn best when they can see information presented to them in a visual format, such as through diagrams, pictures, and videos.
Visual learners fall in the category of visual learning style. They learn and retain information best by interacting with visual information and may struggle to absorb information when it is presented in a purely auditory or written form.
The classroom is usually a great place for a visual learner because teachers use whiteboards, wall images, maps, and posters– objects they can easily connect with.
This article will cover visual learners' characteristics, strengths, and strategies teachers and parents can use to help them succeed.
What Is a Visual Learning Style?
Visual learning style is a learning method where learners need to see, I.e., watch, and observeto learn. The learning may involve spatial awareness, videos, photographic memory, diagrams, graphs, etc. Visual learners will quickly remember places, objects, and faces because they can quickly recollect details by creating a mental image.
Visual learning style is one of the most common types of learning style, estimated to be used by over65% of all learners. Other learners may learn by auditory learning style—listening and hearing or tactile/ kinesthetic learning style—by touching and doing.
Different learners receive and process information differently. It's important for teachers to be aware of different learning styles so that they design and deliver lessons that accommodate all learners.
Many teacher preparation programs include learning styles in their curricula, ensuring that teachers are equipped to teach all learners.
Characteristics of Visual Learners
Visual learners are good at understanding information through visual aids and imagery. A child who is a visual learner will have different facial expressions and emotions when learning. For instance, they may stare when angry.
A child who struggles with reading or has a short attention span may be a visual learner. This is because they are easily distracted by visual stimuli.
Lets look at the most common visual learning characteristics:
They tend to have a vivid imagination, sometimes leading to daydreaming or mental wandering.
Since they think primarily in pictures, they may highly enjoy visual stimulation.
They are typically good at reading maps and charts because they learn through observation.
When spelling, visual spatial learners need to visualize the words to spell them correctly.
They are usually good at using their intuition to solve problems.
They can recognize patterns quickly and have a vivid imagination.
Strengths of Visual Learners in Classrooms
Visual learners tend to do well in a modern classroom setting. This is because the classroom is designed to cater to this kind of learner. Visual aids in the classroom, such as whiteboards, handouts, posters, and images, provide a rich source of information that they can easily absorb and remember.
Visual learners have several strengths that teachers can use to tailor their teaching methods to their learning styles. The strengths of visual learners include:
Visual learners instinctively follow directions– This ensures that they are at par with lessons, have great engagement in the classroom, and have great critical thinking skills.
Easily visualize objects– Quickly create mental images that enable them to understand and remember information better.
Have a great sense of balance and alignment– They can easily spot asymmetries and imbalances, helping them solve problems fast.
They are great organizers– They know how to organize information so that it can make sense to them. They can create mind maps and diagrams that act as visual aids.
They have a strong sense of color and are very color-oriented– They can use color to categorize information and differentiate shades and objects based on color.
Can see the passage from a page in a book the mind– They create visual images of texts that help them recall information easily.
Notice minute similarities and differences between objects and people easily– They have a keen eye for detail.
Can envision imagery easily– Their vivid imagination helps them understand, remember and communicate ideas effectively.
Benefits of Visual Learning
Visual learning benefits the student, teacher, and even parents. Teachers provide teaching aids that help the learners learn effectively, and parents use visual aids that reinforce the learning concepts. Visual aids are also a great way to communicate information, helping the learner study efficiently.
Here are the benefits of visual learning:
Enhanced memory– Pairing ideas with images help students become more attentive and understand what they’re taught easier while remembering for a long time.
It makes communication simpler and quicker– The brain processes information presented in a visual format quicker than text. Visual learning also helps overcome language barriers.
Drives motivation– Visual learning style helps with retention and recall. Students can clearly visualize their goals and remain motivated to learn and achieve them.
Stimulates emotions– Our brains use the same part to process visual information and emotions. Visual stimuli work with emotion to make learning more interesting.
Accessibility– Visual learning tools are easily accessible. Teachers and parents can easily create drawings, cut-outs, and paintings that make learning easy.
How to Implement Visual Learning in Classrooms
As we’ve seen, visual learners have diverse strengths, such as great planning and organization skills. They’re also quite aware of color, contrast, and visual elements.
Teachers can take advantage of these strengths and implement different visual learning strategies in the classroom.
Here are different ways teachers can implement visual learning in classrooms:
Active participation is where learners interact and engage with visual materials as they learn.
To implement active participation, you can allow your students to take notes when watching a video. You can also give them a personal whiteboard with a dry-erase and plenty of colors where they can draw out ideas and concepts.
You can also encourage group activities, discussions, and presentations that involve visual materials.
Using visual aids
Visual aids involve any visual material that can simplify learning for visual learners.
Teachers can use diagrams and maps to show how different concepts relate. Images and photographs, and videos are visual aids that illustrate concepts and provide examples. Charts and graphs help kids understand how numbers work.
Visual aids give a quick snapshot of information, making it easier for visual learners to understand.
Associating new concepts with familiar ones
Teaching involves introducing students to new concepts frequently. For visual learners, teachers can associate new concepts with what the students already know.
For example, you can use analogies to make complex ideas simpler. Let’s say you’re teaching about computer viruses; you can relate it with a real virus— and how it affects the computer just like a body.
You can also use real-world examples and help learners understand new concepts; like dropping objects down when teaching about gravity.
Wall displays of charts, pictures, and diagrams help visual learners understand difficult concepts. They help with memory retention since students always remember visual concepts.
Teachers can designate areas to set up visual examples in their classrooms. Students will use the wall displays to make connections between different ideas and concepts.
A visual schedule is a tool that can help students organize their daily activities and routines. Children can easily understand what to expect for the day and prevent anxiety.
Visual schedules can be in the form of pictures, symbols, or icons, and they help visual learners understand their tasks easily and with clarity. They are also useful for learners who may have learning difficulties such as autism spectrum disorder.
Teachers can tailor visual schedules to each child’s needs and make them easy to understand. For example, some learners may prefer actual images of the items they’ll study during the day. Others may need simple icons or color codes.
Avoid using large text
Visual learners find large blocks of text overwhelming and difficult to process. This is because they process information that is clear, and organized in diagrams or visual aids.
Teachers can avoid large texts by using more visual teaching materials such as videos and images. They can also break large blocks of text into bullet points or smaller paragraphs.
You can also use different sizes of font for headings and mix bold and italics to emphasize important points.
Different colors are a great way to make texts more interesting for visual learners and highlight important points.
Study Tips for Visual Learners
Teachers should help their learners develop a learning routine and style that helps them study more efficiently. There are plenty of ways teachers can help visual learners.
Here are visual cues you can use to help your students:
Instead of writing out their work, allow students to represent their learning in visual and creative ways.
Provide them with a personal whiteboard and dry-erase markers with plenty of colors.
Try using bright colors whenever possible because colors help make an imprint on the child’s mind.
Consider introducing documentaries and videos sometimes instead of using textbooks every time.
Create to-do lists with the child, so they can refer back to them, help them stay on track, and visualize their progress.
Help students incorporate lots of concepts and maps of their studies.
Ultimately, visual learning strategies help students engage with the material and use their visual skills more effectively.
Tips for Parents of Visual Learners
Parents play a key role in a child’s educational path. Once they identify their child’s learning style as visual, they can provide the necessary tools and material for the child to learn effectively.
Here is a list of ideas parents can use to facilitate the learning process for their visual learners:
When reading aloud, encourage your child a chance to describe what they picture in their mind to see if they understand what you’re reading.
Maintain eye contact when speaking to the child; the child can see your facial expressions and understand you better.
Create a conducive learning environment at home. For instance, avoid visual distractions when the child is doing homework or learning.
Encourage drawing and doodling. Drawing pictures as they learn helps visual learners remember key concepts.
Encourage the child to take breaks. Visual learners may become overwhelmed when they spend too much time on one activity, like reading or staring at a screen. Encourage the child to try some physical activities.
Use color coding to highlight important items and information even at home.
Take advantage of technology such as educational apps and websites and get visually stimulating and engaging content for your child.
Why Learning Styles Matter
Most people have a preferred way of learning. Some people learn best by listening, others observe every step, while others learn best by doing.
Understanding learning styles helps teachers and parents understand how their learners process information most efficiently. They can therefore tailor their interaction with the learner to be better.
For example, while most students prefer a specific learning style, the trick for teachers is adding an additional layer of study using other earning styles.
Let’s look at why learning styles benefit different categories:
Teachers: By understanding learning styles, teachers can design and deliver instructions more effectively. They can tailor their lessons to match different student needs and also identify struggling students for additional support.
Students: Understanding their own learning styles can help them study better. Self-awareness helps them develop more effective study habits and learning strategies. E.g., visual learners can create flash cards. Students can also communicate their learning needs better.
Parents: By understanding learning styles, parents can support their children’s education more effectively. Parents get to know how each child’s learning needs are unique and tailor the learning activities.
E.g a visual learner may benefit from videos and pictures, while an auditory learner will appreciate listening and discussions. Parents can also communicate their child’s learning needs to the teachers.
Start Implementing Visual Learning in Your Classroom
Students have unique preferences. Naturally, they process information differently. By understanding different learning styles, educators can cater to each student’s learning style and help the learners comprehend and retain information better.
A typical classroom will have learners with different learning styles. For instance, you’ll have visual learners who prefer learning through diagrams and visual aids and auditory learners who prefer listening to lectures. You’ll also have kinesthetic learners who prefer hands-on activities and experiences.
Teachers can take advantage of professional development courses and learn about different learning styles. This gives them great strategies and techniques that they can use and accommodate diverse learners in the classroom.