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Visual Learning

Visual Learning An Article looking at the theory and practice of using images, diagrams, photos etc. to improve enjoyment and achievement in learning.

We are visual creatures. Visual things stay put, whereas sounds fade.
Steven Pinker

This is a Free Sample Resource
Categories: Article, Teaching & Learning, Learning Styles, Any Subject, Educators

Tags: Visual Learning Learning Styles
A Magazine is an iPad that Doesn't Work
"A magazine is an iPad that does not work":

What implications do you reckon this 1m25s clip has for teaching and learning (it's from 2011 by the way). Whether we like it or not, our classrooms are filling up with Generation Z digital natives (born 1995-2009) whose future relationship with visual media is both exciting and unpredictable. How should we respond? Stubbornly stand at the front, Midas-like, expecting children to learn as we did? Or step aside to watch an army of tablets march in and take over? Or maybe a little of both with a non-technological twist.

Why Visual?
Visual (Teaching and) Learning is where ideas, concepts, data and information are associated with, and presented through, non-linguistic methods. Marzano (2003) suggests that visual and linguistic representations offered simultaneously to pupils can improve learning. And Coffield's research (2004) proposes that pupils benefit most from mixed-modality teaching rather than by skewing it to individual preferences. And there is no shortage of material. Photographs, maps, diagrams, charts, infographics, drawings, film etc. are at our fingertips digitally and instantly - or available more traditionally on shelves, in archives, books and on walls.

More than a Tablet
A risk when focussing on Visual Learning is that we associate it ONLY with new technology and easy access. A combination of new and established methods is worth a try. For example, let's say we're looking at the local environment, near to your school. Within seconds we could have a satellite image on screen, annotated with traffic flows, weather reports and community information. There's a place for this. However, a trip to (or a visit from) the local library or county archive service, with a patient search for old area maps, and the discovery that the school was actually built over a railway line, brings a different sort of satisfaction. In the first task, it's a quick win. In the second we need some grit and determination, a focus and more time. But the result can be richer, deeper, more memorable and engaging.

This month's resources offer you a range of ideas for embedding visual learning without it being a chore ("Oh no, and I've got to include a picture as well"). It's not always possible to balance out visual and linguistic ideas within each lesson, but with a reason to try (see above) it should be pretty straightforward to do so regularly over a week or term.

Related Resources:

1 Block Thinking

Do You Let Your Pupils Doodle?

Similes, Analogies & Metaphors

Soundscape Thinking


Visualise PowerPoint

Visualising Knowledge


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