Connecting with Visual Learners in the Classroom

January 28, 2015 Kristen Hicks

Studies have suggested that anywhere from 65% to 80% of the population consists of visual learners. Research has discovered the following regarding students who fall into that category:

• When learning with visuals, they remember information better.
• Having images alongside text can increase their reading comprehension.
• Visuals can help them become more effective at organizing and communicating ideas, and finding patterns and relationships between things.
• Visual cues can inspire them to engage with content more.

Not only does incorporating visuals into your class presentations and assignments help many students learn the material better, it also helps them pick up skills important in today’s world. For a variety of reasons, visual literacy is now considered one of the key skills of the future.

Instructors in subjects like art and architecture won’t need any help finding ways to incorporate visuals into their classes, but for everyone else, some suggestions might be useful. Each of the following formats can be easily used to supplement your own teaching methods and inspire more creative assignments for student learning.

1. PowerPoint Presentations

Using visuals in a PowerPoint presentation is a great way to connect with visual learners in the classroom. In addition, assigning PowerPoint presentations to your students will help them gain experience with a program that’s extremely common in many types of jobs.

2. Charts and Graphs

Today, it’s much easier to create charts and graphs to illustrate numerical concepts than it was in the past. You can easily slip them into your own presentations and the assignments you provide students, or you can encourage them to create their own to strengthen the work they turn in to you. There are also many free online tools that make the process of creating charts and graphs simple, including one from Google, and they can be especially helpful to students and teachers who are not comfortable with technology.

3. Videos

At one time, creating videos required expensive equipment, but now anyone with a smartphone or tablet has the ability to do it. There’s actually an extensive collection of entertaining and educational videos available online, including TED Talks and historical clips, as well as many educational video resources.

4. Websites and Blog Posts

Increasing student engagement is one of the best methods available to improve student-learning outcomes. When you ask students to maintain a website or blog, it gives them the opportunity to feel more engaged. It also gives them the chance to take ownership of something that reflects their visual preferences.

5. Visual Feedback

Providing feedback on student progress in a visual format is another important component to student-learning success. Being able to see in clear visual terms what they’re doing well and what they still need to work on can help students better understand their own progress and improve their study habits.

rubric grading

In addition to the foregoing, visual media can be incorporated into exam assessment by inserting video and images into the tests you give students. If students learn better in class and on their own with visual content, they’ll perform better on exams if given access to the same learning formats.

The importance of visuals to the learning process is not a new idea; however, many of the ways educators can make use of visuals to improve student-learning outcomes are. There’s a great deal of technology available today to help your students perform better. Be sure to take advantage of it.

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