Visualize Learning

Originally published on

Visualize Learning

People have different learning styles — be it social, visual, hands-on, or auditory learning — and an important key to a successful personal and professional life is incorporating your dominant learning style with help from the other styles into your everyday interactions. Harnessing your learning strengths makes you more productive at work or school and helps you have more meaningful interactions with family and friends in your personal life.

If you have taken the mini-quiz and think that you might be a visual learner, read on and see how to use your visual learning abilities to your advantage. If you are not a visual learner, read this article to understand how visual learners think and how you can incorporate some visual learning into your dominant learning style.

Characteristics of a Visual Learner

Visual learners generally think in pictures and are good at visualizing concepts and information in their mind. Visual learners like information served up in the form of handouts, graphs, charts, diagrams, and text. Visual learners are often good spellers, love reading, enjoy colors and aesthetics, easily understand charts and graphs, dream in color, remember faces (though not necessarily names), and can recall where they saw something. Visual learners are also often not as good at foreign languages or remembering conversations, and they need extra time to process information that they hear.

Making the Most of Your Visual Learning Ability

Visual learners are lucky in that society presents most information through visual means, such as the Internet, television, billboards, and printed media. Secondary to that is information presented through auditory and interpersonal mediums: lectures, conversations, and, even with television, narration.

As a visual learner, the best way to harness this strength is to:

  • Make outlines
  • Have to-do lists and reminders in visible places
  • Take notes during (or immediately after) meetings or conversations
  • Group information together by concepts and use arrows and symbols to connect
  • Highlight, underline, and use color-coded systems on notes
  • Ask for information in writing
  • Use flashcards
  • Make charts, diagrams, and graphs for tracking information
  • Keep notes that are easy to refer to when speaking
  • Preview material—look it over in its entirety and notice key points, headings, pictures, and main points before you settle down to read

Also, practice using your visual learning strengths to improve your auditory, hands-on, and interpersonal learning skills. For example, read aloud information you are processing or practice describing pictures or charts instead of letting the visual information speak for itself. When meeting new people, take a moment to visualize the new faces while saying their names to yourself in your head (or visualize them wearing a nametag). As you listen to someone speaking, in your head create pictures or other graphic representations of what they are saying.

These techniques allow visual learners to see information that comes in other forms. For visual learners, seeing is not only believing, but also comprehending and processing.

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