How does an effective learning happen?
University of IOWA figured out that brain processes auditory information entirely differently than visual or tactile! Visual images tend to have more things that we instantly associate with them. These connections make information more “memorable”. Auditory experience is forced to recreate the visual representation and then associate it with what we know. Same is the case with “reading”. This exercise of recreating the visual representation is longer and cannot happen on the fly as we hear or read. A complete learning experience is when multi-sensory experience in involved. It helps store, process and re-create what is learned a lot effectively. Thus it’s essential to combine hearing/reading experience with visual and/or tactile experience to have the most effective learning experience.
A proof that a complete learning experience works:
Scientists did an experiment several years ago. A group of people was introduced to a woman and told her name was Mrs. Baker. She was then wearing a casual outfit. Same woman was introduced to another group of people and was told that she was a “baker”. She was then wearing baker’s cloths and outfit. Several days later, both groups were asked who they had met and second group did 70% better than first group. Why? Because they could relate to her occupation better. Images of floor, cakes, cooking built connections in the memory and ensured a better recall!
Three learning styles:
There are three types of learning styles.
The visual learners are visually stimulated (predominantly) when it comes to subjects of learning. Diagrams or illustrations aid visual learners the best. They are the biggest group and make up about 65% of the population. Second type of learning style is auditory. Auditory learners are able to understand subject through auditory medium or discussion with other individuals. They will read the text book aloud to understand it better. They make up to 30% of population. The third type of learning is kinesthetic or tactile. These types of learners engage themselves physically by touch or other sensory organs to learn a topic.
Do you try to remember certain topic by closing eyes? It is an attempt to visualize what you had learned, trying to create a picture, build a map and imagine! Our brain works on references and associations and once they find an associated fact, you are all set!
Know that visual memory is strongest of all types of memories, yet we rely on it so less! We are caught in the midst of traditional ways and means of learning. We want children to “listen” to a class teacher. We still want them to know Q&A by heart. We ask them to rehearse the spelling. Many times the class teacher may also just “speak” and won’t use visual aids to “enrich” the experience. Visual aid doesn’t necessarily mean – eLearning always. Visual learning could be by using hand drawn images, charts, flowcharts, pictures etc. The richer the learning experience the better is the information absorption and retrieval. Remember, visual information is processed by children 60,000 times faster. They will typically retain 80% of what they see, 20% of what they read and 10% of what they hear. So next time you ask your kid to read – think twice!
Few tips to visual learning:
- Convert the information into an image or chart
- Recreate a visual chart/image yourself.
- Colour code the information. All related concepts are highlighted using same colour.
- Mind map is an excellent tool to organize information.
- Associate visual cues with words or terms