Visual learning: what it is and how to improve it

People learn throughout their lives and in a thousand ways. One can learn through words, pictures, experiences, people … Thus, there are many types and styles of learning, depending on their characteristics and the stimuli that make this process possible.

Usually, each person has a learning style that they learn more easily. Today we are going to talk about a very specific type of learning: visual learning. But how do we know that “our” learning style is visual? What exactly is it and what are some of its examples? What characteristics and what advantages does it have? We’ll cover all of these issues in this article, plus we’ll find out what other two learning styles are out there.

    The learning process

    While most people can learn in different ways depending on the context, we don’t all learn the same thing, plus a lot of people learn better in one way or another.

    If we extrapolate this question to the field of intellectual disability, for example, even more specifications emerge, as many of these children learn best in a specific way (for example through sight, touch …), showing learning difficulties in other areas. (although each particular case must be analyzed).

    What happens when we learn better through one sense than another? In these cases, the ideal would be to maximize this type of learning in particular, without forgetting, of course, the other senses. Being able to identify what is our best way to learn will allow us to maximize our learning.

    There are people who learn best through the sense of hearing, for example by listening to the teacher’s explanations, others by words (reading), others by experiences … are there people who learn best by sight?

    First of all, that it is good to know, to take advantage of it; once known, our work as teachers, psychoeducators or other industry professionals, and even as parents, is prepare and / or adapt material to enhance visual learning. But what is it exactly? Let’s see.

    Visual learning: what is it?

    Visual learning is a type of learning that it is made from visual stimuli; this includes, images, pictograms, graphic organizers, concept maps, colors … The goal of this type of learning, which is also a teaching method, is to help students consolidate a follow-up of ideas through the sense of sight.

    It is therefore a method centered on vision (and at the same time, on visual memory).

    Advantages and features

    The advantages of visual learning are that many students who have this sense more developed in the way they treat conceptsOr, simply, whether they are best studied by diagrams / images, or whether they have good visual memory, can benefit to a greater extent from this type of learning.

    1. Global information

    On the other hand, it is a teaching method which makes it possible to identify information much more quickly and comprehensively. The use of colors, for example, can increase its effectiveness.

    2. Relations between concepts

    Another benefit of visual learning is that allows you to more quickly visualize patterns and relationships between concepts and / or ideas, Through programs or organizers, for example. All of this facilitates greater internalization of information.

    3. Visual memory

    Visual learning, as we have seen, is ideal for working with children or adults who have good visual memory. It is a type of learning that improves this type of memory, and also allows you to work with children who have difficulties in other areas but with good visual memory (For example, children with certain intellectual disabilities).


      Let’s take a look at some examples of the most common elements or strategies used to improve one type of visual learning (although there are others).

      1. Concept maps

      Concept maps they involve a very visual organization of information; they allow, in relation to a subject, to compare ideas, to organize concepts …

      So that we understand it a little better; these are diagrams where information is grouped by concepts or categories in “drawers”, and where these “drawers” are linked to each other by arrows, for example.

      2. Calendar

      Timelines are another example of a technique used in visual learning; it is line diagrams that help locate different facts or items along a chain or timeline, As indicated by his name. They are ideal for working with historical periods, for example.

      3. Cause and effect diagrams

      Cause and effect diagrams, also a visual learning technique, are representations of different elements that they explain the origin of a situation or an effect.

      4. Mind maps

      Idea cards allow different concepts to be linked through arrows, drawings, “drawers” … they offer very global information on a subject.

      How do we know we learn best visually?

      As we saw at the beginning of the article, each person learns best through a certain sense (although there are also people who learn the same thing with one sense or another).

      But how do we know if our learning style is visual? Here you will find a set of guidelines that will help you determine, if applicable, that your learning style is visual:

      • You are a very attentive person.
      • You have a special function for storing images (and videos).
      • You have a lot of imagination and you generate vivid images in your mind.
      • You have a good visual memory.
      • Pictures and diagrams are good to study and remember.
      • Have difficulty remembering or explaining verbal information.
      • Think more about pictures than words.

      Other learning styles: auditory and kinesthetic

      Beyond the visual learning style, there are other learning styles. Generally speaking, and generically, we find two others: auditory learning and kinesthetic learning.

      1. Auditory learning

      People with an auditory learning style are characterized by better memorization of information offered orally / orally (For example through the teacher’s explanations).

      In other words, they are based, above all, on the sense of hearing, to learn. It is an ideal style for learning languages ​​and music.

      2. Kinesthetic learning

      The kinesthetic learning style, on the other hand, is characterized by being based on sensations and movements.. People with this style learn best through body, movement, caressing, touching … it is a more experiential and ‘hands-on’ type of learning, if you compare it to visual or visual learning. auditory learning.

      It’s a “slower” style compared to the last two, but it generates deeper learning, as emotions are often involved in it.

      Bibliographical references:

      • Cid, FM, Suazo, AG, Ferro, EG and González, JA (2012). Visual, auditory or kinesthetic learning styles of UISEK physical education students in Chile. Iztacala Electronic Journal of Psychology, 15 (2): 405-415.
      • Ojeda Cabrera, A., Cuéllar, D., González, L. et al. (2007). Concept maps: a powerful tool for meaningful learning. Acimed, 15 (5): 1-12.

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