February 16, 2022
Neuroscience distinguishes three primary ways of learning: visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. Being a visual learner has been found the most prevalent, as research in visual learning statistics shows, that roughly 65% of the research group retained visual information with the highest efficiency. Auditory students remembered oral descriptions and instructions best while they learned kinesthetic the quickest when they associated new knowledge with movement.
In social sciences, a paradigmatic division between oral and visual cultures has been supported for many years. The former was supposed to transfer customary knowledge through oral traditions, such as songs, legends, or myths, while the latter focused on capturing it through art and in writing.
Today’s western society is largely visual and contemporary methods from different types of learning try to cater to those forms of communication. In today’s article, we’re going to take a closer look at the visual learning statistics, which help us understand how important visual elements of the online learning experience are.
Visual learning statistics show that learners who prefer this method of learning, or visual learners, form 65% of any learning group meaning that almost two out of three members of your team will prefer to study using visual materials in the form of pictures, graphs, charts, and illustrations. While educators have long been using integrative, colorful, and engaging visual didactic materials to teach children, it seems that the older we get, the fewer interesting materials in learning activities are being used in teaching.
Everyone who ever studied a new language as an adult, remembers boring black-and-white textbooks, and pages upon pages of grammar rules. Spoken language remains the main tool of instruction and while we do learn how to orally present our ideas, we rarely get the opportunity to learn how to coin our nicely formed sentences into visually appealing presentations. How many of us suffered through never-ending presentations with slides full of unintelligible text?
Being smart often means being book-smart and while the text is a part of visual culture and a great learning tool, we tend to forget, that there are better ways of learning. Luckily, online learning platforms, which gradually take over older forms of knowledge transfer in corporate environments, have taken to changing this pattern by using this learning style and making learning visually attractive again.
How many of us suffered through school having to go through the memorization of mathematical and biological definitions or learning by heart lengthy chemical equations? And how many of us turned to draw simple graphs to help us visualize the whole process? That’s right – more than a few! The infamous Krebs cycle becomes clear when put in a simple circle drawing, with two colors signalizing ingredients and products. Simple shapes, colors, and arrows translate incongruent text into a board, which the brain has a chance of analyzing in a non-linear way.
Unlike text, visual depictions give our brains more freedom in choosing what to focus on. Whether we decide to analyze the picture backward, from inside out, left to right, or right to left, we do not have to force any particular order to our thoughts. Once we analyze every element, we can easily put them together in a coherent structure.
This way, visuals help to divide new information into categories and smaller elements that build up the bigger picture. In educational sciences, such elements are called chunks or nuggets and are widely used in methods such as gamification and microlearning, which online platforms, such as EdApp, have successfully employed to improve comprehension and learning outcomes. The visual learning statistics are there to prove it.
At EdApp visual microlearning stands at the core of the teaching method and philosophy. Extensive course library, covering subjects from welding, through retail to hospitality, contains not only comprehensive information but dressed in easy-to-digest, visually appealing form. A wide range of visual aids has been used to create courses, that are also readily available to anyone who wishes to create a new course at EdApp. The authoring tool contains an extensive selection of fully customizable charts, graphs, illustrations, photos, and other visual aids, helping to make the courses not just substantive in content but also easy to comprehend and digest.
Impactful images, research shows, help to retain knowledge in a visual person’s long-term memory as shapes and colors are more likely to be associated with emotions than simple text. Neuroscience underlying learning processes indicates that emotional reactions are crucial for the long-term storage of information – that’s a reason why particularly happy, sad, or thrilling memories are remembered by us more vividly.
A study shows, that on average, after three days we can recall 10 to 20% of a spoken word, only 10% of written but an astonishing 65% of a visual image (Joyce, Showers 1989). Therefore, the most efficient knowledge transfer should include all materials and learning methods – spoken, written, and visual – inappropriate measures. There’s no doubt, that presentations of a manual skill will have the biggest and long-term impact on the students. Imagine trying to make a clay mug. After all, it’s much easier to see how it is done rather than only hear it through oral instruction. While seeing it done is crucial, we probably won’t understand the details of the process – hence oral or written instruction must be given. One cannot exist without the other. At EdApp, this rule is taken seriously, and all five components of efficient information transfer are taken care of: theory, demonstration, practice, feedback, and coaching.
Visual learning strategies should remain at the core of any learning process. It’s important to remember, that even as we get older, our brains work in principle the same – we are neurologically sensitive to colors and shapes more than to text. The former attracts our attention and invites us to explore, while text, as a linear form of codified symbols, requires more effort to dive into. In online learning, visual tools have become core for creating educational materials for all types of businesses. At EdApp we hold on to the motto, that visual learning should be made accessible and interesting, rather than repetitive and tiring. Visual aids help to achieve and reinforce that goal.
Clerkin E. M, Hart E., Rehg J. M., Yu C, Smith L. B. 2017 Real-world visual statistics and infants’ first-learned object names. Phil. Trans. R. Soc.
Bradford, William C., Reaching the Visual Learner: Teaching Property Through Art (September 1, 2011). The Law Teacher Vol. 11, 2004.
Marta Rudnicka is a creative content writer with vast experience in writing, editing, translation, and data analysis. Aside from writing, their interests are centered on mental health, human rights, travel, and environmental concerns.