How to use visual learning to learn effectively

How to use visual learning to learn effectively

Do you find yourself drawing pictures of a biology process as you study for an exam? Are you occasionally distracted during lectures, but extra-attentive when watching a video? If so, you may be a visual learner.

Visual learners are those who process and retain information best when they can see it. Visual learners often prefer to sit in the front of the class and “watch” the lecture closely. Often, these students will find that information makes more sense when it is explained with the aid of a chart or illustration.

Strengths of Visual Learners

Visual learners have many strengths that will help them succeed in the classroom:

  • Good at spelling and grammar
  • Comprehends charts and graphs quickly
  • Able to convey complex ideas visually
  • Good at sign language and other visual communication
  • Creative; may enjoy art or writing

Visual Learning Strategies

If you’re a visual learner, try these techniques to improve your comprehension, retention, and concentration while studying:

  1. Ask for a demonstration. Visual learners need to see how something is done. Whenever possible, ask your teacher for a visual demonstration. Once you see the concept or principle in action, you’ll have an easier time understanding it and recalling it later.
  2. Request handouts. Before class begins, ask the teacher if there is a handout you can review during the lecture. Handouts will help you keep track of the information being presented in the lecture.
  3. Incorporate white space in your notes. White space is important for visual learners. When too much information is crammed together, it becomes difficult to read. Think of white space as an organizational tool like any other and use it to separate information in your notes.
  4. Draw symbols and pictures. Use symbols like exclamation points (for important information), question marks (for information that’s confusing or that you need to study further) and stars (for information you understand fully). In addition, consider illustrating complex concepts or processes.
  5. Use flashcards. Flashcards can help you remember key terms and vocabulary words. Create a set of flashcards and illustrate them with relevant pictures and symbols to boost your retention.
  6. Create graphs and charts. If you are learning information that can be organized as a graph or chart, take the time to make one. No need to be fancy—just scribble it in the margins of your notebook). Seeing information in this structured format will help you remember it.
  7. Make outlines. Outlines are an excellent organizational tool for the visual learner. In an outline, you can structure a large amount of information using headings, subheadings, and bullet points. Outline textbook chapters as you read, then review your outlines when preparing for exams.
  8. Write your own practice test. When you make your own practice test, you get to see the relevant test information right in front of you, which is a big help for visual learners. Use study guides, chapter notes, and relevant class assignments to put your original practice test together.

Visual Learning Tips for Teachers

Visual learners need to see information in order to learn. These students may struggle to pay attention to a conventional lecture, but they process visual information like charts and graphs with ease. Try these strategies to support the visual learners in your classroom:

How to use visual learning to learn effectively

There are all sorts of different learning styles out there. But today I am going to list some study strategies for one of the most common styles — visual learners.

We all know you guys do best when you see stimulating content! But moms, don’t forget that visual learners can benefit from more than just staring at a computer screen. Here are 12 tips you can use to help your child learn, focus, and study.

1. Organize everything!

Visual learners are –no surprise here — susceptible to visual distractions. But if you’re a mom who isn’t necessarily a visual learner, you might forget that a messy work space and a messy living room can wreak havoc on your visual child. Clutter, messes, and other visuals that aren’t organized can destroy your child’s productivity and focus.

2. Develop strong visual outlines before writing essays

This might be my favorite tip because I dont think many people think of this right off the bat. This is especially important when taking tests (like the SAT). Before a visual learner starts to write, they should make a very clear outline. Sometimes, a visually appealing outline (pictorial outline). Visual learners will struggle to complete an organized and coherenet essay or paper when they haven’t created a strong visual plan before starting. This goes for essays AND for writing assignments. Every writing assignment should start with an organized, visual outline.

3. Make sure the material is well organized

Visual learners do best when they are presented with organized and cleanly typed materials. Presentation is key!

4. Use visual associations for memory

To improve the memory of your visual learner, make sure that you use the right aids. Visual imagery, flash cards, and written repetition are the best strategies for improving memory.

5. Reuse images in new ways

Images can be used more than one time! Reconstruct images in different arrangements. When a visual learner has a page or sheet with lots of blank space, make sure to fill up those areas with media.

6. Utilize visual reminders

Sticky notes, post-it notes, note pads, lists, journals, weekly planners — all of these things are great ways to record reminders that work well with visual types.

How to use visual learning to learn effectively

7. Record notes in an organized fashion

Visual learners do well when their notes, materials, and references are clearly organized and written. Additionally, notes and learning materials should be customized for the visual learner. There are many aids that can help achieve this. Assuming that the notes are clearly hand-written or typed, highlighters can save the day! Underlining notes and drawing pictures and graphs are my two favorites. Don’t forget to use multiple colored pens!

8. Associate visual cues with words/terms

This is a great way to learn. Associating mental images with a particular idea, word, or term is the best way to memorize or retain information. I hate giving tests, but sometimes they are necessary — especially when preparing for college. When visual learners need to memorize, they do best when they practice turning visual cues into answers.

9. Prepare for tests by visually encoding information

Specifically, if you’re studying for a test make sure that any difficult answers or terms are given some type of visual encoding that helps with recollection. I do not consider myself to be a ‘one type learner,’ and this works wonders for me. Once I’m able to figure out the concepts I just can’t remember (after doing one or two runs through the material), I start associating it with a visual image or concept. Visual learners need to be given the chance to practice tying knowledge and images together. Some incredibly lucky people have visually photographic memories. I only wish it were always that easy.

10. Actively participate!

This is key for all learning types. But, I think it should be given special attention to visual learners because they can greatly benefit from involvement — in group activities especially.

11. Position your child in the front of the room

This is another tip for avoiding distractions. In the front of the room there are fewer windows and doors where visual action takes place. Also,do a survey of the room and make sure he or she isn’t sitting near any large paintings, maps, or posters. Its so easy to get distracted by these visual aids if you aren’t supposed to be utilizing them.

What did I forget? Let me know through a comment!

About Sarah Tippett

How to use visual learning to learn effectivelySarah is the editor for Homeschool Base, a passionate writer, and teacher. When she isn’t writing she is homeschooling her youngest son.

One Response to “11 Learning Tips and Study Strategies for Visual Learners”

I’m beginning to think that my daughter might be a visual learner. It’s good to know that visual distractions can be a big problem for her. Since she’s struggling in school, I figure that it might be helpful to learn about different strategies and tools she can use when she studies.