Visual Learning Strategies for People Who Prefer to Begin by Reading or Viewing

I See What You Mean!

1216137653542424074narrowhouse_cartoon_eye_svg_med_1_1_1.pngVisual learners are those who find it easiest to remember what they read or view. They concentrate best by receiving new or difficult information in written or pictorial form. They can visualise pages and sections of printed text, and they remember the layout, headings, subheadings, key words, captions and images.

Most learners, regardless of perceptual preference, benefit when writing and illustrations are combined, either in the texts they are reading or when they are note-taking or note-making. However, some people have a particularly strong preference for one or the other: Visual Word or Visual Picture learning.

Prefer Pictorial Approaches? Got a Graphic Preference?

People with strong Visual Picture preferences are more confident and successful when they can:

  •  Learn by viewing images, graphics, demonstrations and performances
  •  visual_learning_with_computer_1.jpgWatch introductory presentations and instructional videos
  •  Follow illustrated sets of instructions
  •  Visualise or see the required finished product – its shapes, colours and features
  •  Draw or sketch ideas and concepts when planning
  •  Use visual tools for organising information and ideas: layouts/formats, Thinking Maps, pro forma examples, colour-coding, different font styles and sizes, bold text, underlining, symbols, bullet-points
  •  visual_learning_resources_1_1_1.pngAnnotate their notes with simple illustrations (purposeful doodling)
  •  Use visual methods and techniques when demonstrating their understanding to an assessor
  •  Receive visual feedback about their work, highlighting, circling, symbols etc.
Learners with strong Visual Picture preferences will enjoy using or creating the following:

  •  Thinking Maps® with colour-coded pictorial summaries and outlines
  •  Mini whiteboards and multi-coloured whiteboard pens
  •  Colour-coded graphs, charts and posters
  •  Diagrams
  •  Pictorial flash cards
  •  Painting and drawing
  •  Visualisation games and exercises
  •  Storyboards and animations
  •  Visual or illustrated logs and journals
  •  Picture books and comics
  •  Cartoons
  •  Visual displays
  •  Photo essays
  •  Timelines with symbols and images
  •  Computer drawing programmes, e.g. Inspiration and Kidspiration
  •  Murals and image walls
  •  PowerPoint presentations
  •  Collages
  •  You Tube and other online video and image galleries 
  •  Slideshows
  •  Static and moving advertisements
  •  Video conferences
  •  Streaming news
  •  Word Art and word pictures
  •  Multi-choice with pictorial answer options
  •  Patterns and designs
  •  Book covers and CD covers
  •  Overhead projector images or computer projector images
  •  Colouring books
  •  Costumes, dress-ups, accessories and masks 
  •  Collections
  •  Photographs
  •  Google Earth
  •  Flip books
  •  Simulations
  •  Picture games
  • Television programmes and news items
  • Logos and symbols
  • Graffiti walls


Return to Multi-Sensory Approaches

Like the Lingo? Prefer the Written Word?

People with strong Visual Word preferences are more confident and successful when they can:

  • visual_learning_notes_1.pngLearn by reading (perhaps silently)
  • Read written outlines, introductions and summaries
  • Visualise or see key words and phrases
  • Follow written instructions/directions
  • Read a detailed description of the required finished product.
  • Make written notes to master or reinforce new or difficult information
  • Use written abbreviations
  •  Use written language tools for organising information and ideas: Thinking Maps®, pro forma examples, headings, sub-headings, bullet point lists, captions
  •  1225770330297150346emyller_books_svg_med_1_1.pngAnnotate their notes with key words and phrases, written observations and questions
  •  Explain their understandings in writing for an assessor
  •  Receive precise written feedback about their work

Learners with strong Visual Word preferences will enjoy using or creating the following:

  •  Thinking Maps® with key words and phrases
  •  Electronic texts, including emails and blogs
  •  Written journals and diaries
  •  Multi-choice activities with written answer alternatives
  •  Books, magazines, newspapers
  •  Bullet-point notes
  •  Paragraphed summaries
  •  Narratives
  •  Reports
  •  Essays
  •  Reviews
  •  Dramatic texts: plays
  •  Articles
  •  Letters and postcards
  •  Editorials
  •  Biographies and autobiographies
  •  Poetry
  •  Word play: figures of speech
  •  Anthologies
  •  Written questionnaires and surveys
  •  Advertisements
  •  Song lyrics
  •  Timelines with key words
  •  Charts and posters with written explanations
  •  Cloze passages (fill-the-gaps)
  •  Written tests and quizzes
  •  Comics with word bubbles
  •  Captions
  •  Crosswords and wordfinds/word searches
  •  PowerPoint presentations
  •  IPad readers
  •  Web quests
  •  Mini whiteboards with multi-coloured pens


Return to Multi-Sensory Approaches