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Learning Styles: Visual-Spatial

Explanations and strategies for different types of learning styles.

Tips and Strategies

Teacher Lecture

  • watch for key words written on transparencies, PowerPoint slides, or the board to help organize notes
  • sit towards the front of the room
  • choose a location where you can see the instructor and all visual aids well
  • sit away from doors, windows, bulletin boards, and other potential distractions
  • try to listen and write down what you hear; fill in your notes and check for understanding after each class
  • use visuals like symbols and colour in notes to help flag new concepts and key ideas
  • ask the instructor if other visual information is available (web site, video)

Text and Print Learning

  • minimize visual distractions in your study space (eg. cover your computer screen, do not sit facing a window)
  • make an outline of key topics in chart or diagram format
  • make pictures in your mind
  • look for sketches, diagrams, or charts to help interpret information - practice re-drawing them to help remember
  • write down problems and/or questions and practice writing solutions and/or responses
  • use flash cards to help rehearse
  • try to remember important terminology by looking for parts of the word you already know
  • make notes colourful
  • highlight notes so all information relating to one topic is in the same colour category
  • draw boxes or circles around terms/ concepts and draw lines or arrows to show how they are related to one another
  • learn when and how to translate text into charts, graphs, or pictures, such as make a time-line from dates, or draw percentages or statistical information in a pie chart

Visual Spatial

You Are a Visual-Spatial Learner

Your mantra: What you see is what you get.

Visual-spatial intelligence allows you to see and modify things in your mind. With an understanding of the visual world and its relation to physical items, you are good at solving spatial problems, designing, and doing crafts. Interior designers have remarkable spatial abilities, as do painters.

Tips for the way you learn:

  • Use art projects to create representations of the content you are learning.
  • Draw related images next to your notes (along with arrows between ideas) to create connection and reference points.
  • Organize with color. Use different-colored highlighters, paper, index cards, folders, or tabs to create a visual system for finding things and grouping topics.
  • Visualize your topic. When you are learning something new, imagine what it looks like.

How to learn best

You will learn best by:

  • graphs, charts and diagrams
  • the use of colour coding and highlighting text material
  • the use of visualisation of material and conepts - mind mapping tools like Inspiration or Spiderscribe
  • making pictorial representations of material to be learned - drawing pictures 
  • using bullet points to separate ideas
  • watching videos or films
  • using timelines or mind mapping
  • try drawing diagrams using vivid colours and pictures as a way of remembering
  • circle the concepts you need to learn

More...

Is this you?

If someone asks you for directions, do you tend to draw them a map?

Do you typically find that you have a "good sense of direction?"

Can you easily remember where you parked your car in a large parking lot?

Do you often find yourself "doodling" while taking notes? If these ideas seem to describe you, then you are likely a visual learner.

A person with a visual learning style may often say these phrases:

  • Let me show you.
  • I can picture it in my mind.
  • I can see his face, but I can't remember his name.
  • I don't look at it that way.

Implications for learning

With the evolution of the Internet, there has never been a better time to be a visual learner. Using a search engine, one can easily locate images and diagrams for most concepts covered in a course. Take advantage of these resources.

In addition to the visual resources which you can find online, there is benefit to drawing things out for yourself and/or visualizing things in your mind.

You may find it benefical to draw concept maps to illustrate related ideas. Make use of your impulse to scribble by producing items that are related to the course content.

Organizing information using colors may be especially beneficial for you. As you take notes, underline or highlight items using colors.

Mind Mapping Tools

Bubbl.Us

Easy to use, quick to get started and create mindmaps

Popplet

Great site for visual thinking and development

Spiderscribe

For brainstorming, organising ideas, connect notes, collaborate all in free-form maps