Let’s start with intuition itself. How do we think? When we remember the past, we evoke a mental image, and when we plan or wish for the future, we do it again too. If we want to relax and indulge in fantasies without limits, we imagine something unreal, yet unexperienced. We think visually. We all do it every day, effortlessly. We would find it difficult to function without visualization.
Even when Einstein thought about a problem, he always felt the need to express the subject of the problem in as many different ways as possible, including diagrams. He visualized solutions and believed that words and numbers did not play as significant role in the process of his thinking.
What is visual learning?
More than 40 years ago, visual learning occupied cognitive psychologists who examined various aspects of this phenomenon. Some of the most important conclusions concern the advantages of visual learning techniques over verbal ones and the evident influence of the formation of visual associations on recollection, but also the motivation for learning.
When learning and teaching techniques that engage visual thinking and analysis are applied, individuals become motivated to learn, accept new information with joy and enthusiasm, without even noticing that they are learning. Wondering how? So it all happens without pressure, and learning is almost no different from playing a game.
Many methods deal with learning through images, but the main goal of new educational strategies is not only learning information but also their connection and development of functional knowledge. Programs that deal with the development of functional knowledge put visual learning as an initial stage in the development of creativity and functional knowledge, wherewith the help of other methods that are similar to play, they activate the learner’s potential.
This way of visually supported learning and connecting information reflects not only on the already mentioned positive reactions in learning but primarily on the development of individuals’ cognitive capacities such as divergent thinking, associative reasoning, and independent knowledge construction. And that leaves the learner able to be active in their thought process. At every step of that process. At all times.
Visual teaching aids are based on the so-called video components and therefore have visible dimensions and external sensory properties. Visual teaching aids are those that act on the sense of sight.
Within visual teaching aids, two larger groups can be distinguished: textual aids, which can be broken down into subgroups of handwritten, typewritten, and printed aids, and photographic aids.
Visual teaching aids can be divided, with regard to dimensions, into two-dimensional and three-dimensional, and with regard to the didactic function, into static (immovable) and dynamic (movable). Some examples of visual teaching aids are drawings, pictures, photographs, graphs, tables, models, and the like.
It is assumed that in the future the learning process will strive for the greatest possible visualization of communication while thinking about the pedagogical aspects and the meaning of the means and not neglecting the original reality.
Significant advantages of visual teaching aids are high reliability, the possibility of displaying feedback, enabling use by a wider circle in any place, and storage for a longer period.
Technological and technical benefits should be used in every aspect of learning, not only for visual presentation but for every part of the learning process.
These methods enable and require more active student participation and provide more opportunities to demonstrate what has been learned.
Today we grow up surrounded by digital media and the computer is our everyday tool, and we are members of the so-called net-generation. Accordingly, we prefer to learn by seeing and are used to grasping information via technological means.
So, it is not surprising that visual learning assumes a predominant role in modern teaching.
Visual learning statistics
Visual teaching aids are used in different teaching environments: traditional classroom, interactive teaching, distance learning, computer-aided teaching, as well as printed material from texts to flyers.
Moreover, today, teachers have access to sophisticated electronic environments and in this way, it is much easier to find an appropriate way to transfer knowledge.
Psychologist Jerome Bruner claims that “people remember only 10% of what they hear, 30% of what they read, but about 80% of what they see or do”, from which it can be concluded that words and pictures can be a very powerful way to communicate.
Research has shown that visual learning can enhance a career up to 10 times more than any other style.
For this generation, using digitally-assisted, visual materials is a more natural way of learning, because most children do not know the world without technology.
How to use the best visual learning strategies with your eLearning authoring tool?
E-learning content includes access to a variety of information, be it video and audio materials, presentations, or multimedia catalogs, in a word, all content is presented in a modern and attractive way. The advantages of using computers in teaching are multiple, and the main ones are interactivity and individual attention, mainly as a result of the visual presentation.
Numerous design elements can be used to help achieve good results in the e-learning process. Improper use of fonts, colors, and graphics can also cause distractions and thus reduce the efficiency of e-learning. If it is e-learning via an interactive whiteboard, one should pay attention to another common problem: excessive use of buttons or links on the interactive menu.
The best way to preserve the simplicity of an e-learning site design is to maintain the necessary minimum of variations in content, menus, colors, and fonts;
What can also help greatly reduce the time used to navigate a site is consistency, which can contribute to e-learning pages by reducing the burden of information processing and preventing cognitive overload. The process of learning to use an e-learning site should be fast and painless, so learners will be motivated to continue. The principle of consistency should include colors, background, fonts, titles, text format, folder management, and layout of materials.
Some minor inconsistencies, if used correctly and not so often, such as changing the text format, can quickly attract learners’ attention. For this purpose, an underlined line in the text or a changed color pattern can be used to indicate a change of theme.
It has been shown that the engagement of individuals increases if their personal presence and participation in the e-learning process is increased. It contributes to this if the lecturer integrates chat rooms, video conferences, and so on.
Many techniques can be used in visual learning to improve the thought process or learning skills. Illustrations, diagrams, pictures, videos, etc. can help to make it easier to learn otherwise difficult content.
Some visual learning strategies that can be used in the e-learning environment are:
- Improving teaching through simulations, flash, and other animations, multimedia educational software, electronic knowledge tests as well as programs for independent work. All the mentioned techniques require an individual form of work or, work in a team, depending on the available equipment.
- Application of educational video material that deals with topics from a certain subject. It is important to choose video materials that are intended primarily for learners who would like to deepen their knowledge
- The simplest form of application of interactive content are presentations that are made for the frontal form of work and for those teaching topics in which theoretical content predominates.
- Quizzes can also be made more engaging and fun
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