Visual Learning

Visual learning is a proven teaching method in which ideas, concepts, data and other information are associated with images and represented graphically. Graphic organizers, such as webs, concept maps and idea maps, and plots, such as stack plots and Venn plots, are some of the techniques used in visual learning to enhance thinking and learning skills.

Visual Learning Techniques
Creating graphic organizers - Students create graphic organizers such as diagrams, webs and concept maps by selecting symbols to represent ideas and information. To show the relationships between ideas, students link the symbols and add words to further clarify meaning.

By representing information spatially and with images, students are able to focus on meaning, reorganize and group similar ideas easily, and make better use of their visual memory.

In a study entitled Graphic Organizers: A Review of Scientifically Based Research, The Institute for the Advancement of Research in Education at AEL evaluated 29 studies and concluded that visual learning improves student performance in the following areas:

Critical Thinking--Graphic organizers link verbal and visual information to help students make connections, understand relationships and recall related details.

Retention--According to research, students better remember information when it's represented and learned both visually and verbally.

Comprehension--Students better comprehend new ideas when they are connected to prior knowledge.

Organization--Students can use diagrams to display large amounts of information in ways that are easy to understand and help reveal relationships and patterns.

Visualizing data - When working with data, students build data literacy as they collect and explore information in a dynamic inquiry process, using tables and plots to visually investigate, manipulate and analyze data. As students explore the way data moves through various plot types, such as Venn, stack, pie and axis, they formulate questions and discover meaning from the visual representation.