Visual learners are precisely what you suppose: they require visuals to learn concepts, whether they be concrete or abstract. Their memory is stimulated primarily by the images they see, and they are spatially perceptive.
For the visual learner their memory is stimulated primarily through imagery of differing kinds. Assimilation for the visual learner happens when images provide the logic for any particular concept, whether it be it abstract or concrete. It has to be more than entertaining — it must provide the necessary comprehension for them to succeed.
There is a powerful extrinsic motivation in visual learners provided by the imagery they see. Intrinsic motivation may be present, but if they can’t see the concept then they won’t be able to grasp it well, and this can easily breed frustration. When they are able to see a concept, the cogs in their proverbial wheels start turning, and academic juices begin to flow. If you can stimulate a visual learner by providing the methods outlined, more than likely they will be able to assimilate the information and succeed in that particular subject.
They prefer to watch, read, look, and examine, and most possess a photographic memory. However, they are not always imaginative, although many of them certainly are. That specific trait is most prominent within the Creative. So, don’t be surprised if imagination may be lacking, which is why Visuals are dependent upon imagery. They like videos, demonstrations, charts, diagrams, pictures, and they even prefer to watch people speak rather than taking notes. But when notes are their only option visual learners are commonly excellent note takers when they can employ the auditory learning style. The words they are able to read and transcribe on a page become engraved into their memory. When particular concepts can’t be presented pictorially, this becomes a method they can employ readily and successfully. However, it may not be the one they favor.
Visual learners prefer the following:
• Pictorials (pictures that tell stories)
• Flash cards
• Live demonstrations
• Oral Stories
• Fine Arts
• Reading & Writing
Their observation skills are extraordinary. Many are artists, and their eyes catch details most would miss. As a rule, visual learners enjoy stories that help facilitate a particular lesson. Their comprehension of the abstract will commonly be translated into something visual. For this reason visual learners are often artists who accurately portray such abstractions through their work (ie. film, sculptures, and drawings), leaving others mesmerized. That brilliant ability is unique to them.
Weakness or Dysfunction
If they can’t see it, they struggle to grasp the concept being taught, which often limits them in a classroom setting where linear methods are used and abstracts become difficult to visually portray. This is when reading becomes critical for them whereby they can see printed words and “visualize” or imagine these abstractions. Of all learning styles, this one is hindered in the classroom more than most, simply because visuals are not always available or pertinent to the particular subject matter. Therefore, it is rare for a visual learner to choose a profession that is not visually stimulating.
AUDITORY: This is their most common secondary learning style. Their ability to listen well will help them tremendously in a traditional classroom setting, providing an audio-visual approach that will afford them success.
VERBAL: Visuals and Verbals do quite well together, actually. Visuals who enjoy watching others speak will gain from the verbal learner, especially when their secondary learning style is auditory.
KINESTHETIC: The Visual and Kinesthetic are a beautiful pair. Kinesthetics can often lend a visual learner the demonstration they need to see and understand a task-oriented subject, and they help the visual learner in their ability to perform the task themselves. And a visual learner, likewise, will be able to aid a Kinesthetic in providing the imagery or visualization they need to demonstrate a specific task. That is a win-win combination every time.
LOGICAL: Every learning style relies upon logic. Yet, how each style achieves that will differ. Understand that a true logical learner may or may not rely upon visuals to learn a particular concept. Their methods of extraction and comprehension vary widely. Therefore, a logical learner may or may not be able to adequately explain the concept to a visual learner. They may help, but they can actually end up going in circles unless they can provide the imagery necessary the stimulate the visual learner. For the logical learner who is interacting with a visual, they may need to employ verbal examples or oral stories that provide an opportunity for the visual learner to imagine and therefore “see” the concept being taught. On the flip-side, a visual learner can often aide a logical learner beautifully, revealing concepts to them very clearly that they may not grasp otherwise. Logical learners are often stunned by the visual’s ability to do this, and therefore the impact for them may be even greater, lending them a true “A-ha!” moment.
SOCIAL: Visual learners may or may not be social creatures. If they are, they will usually gravitate very naturally to others who are complementary learning styles.
INDEPENDENT: A visual learner is neither hindered or helped by an independent style. If the visual learner leans toward an independent style, their approach will certainly be much different in and out of the classroom setting.
CREATIVE: This is one of the most complimentary learning styles to the visual learner. They are like magnets. The creative, who is bursting at the seams with ideas, will naturally stimulate a visual learner, and likewise the visual learner who can understand concepts through pictures and the like, will provide more than enough to get the Creative’s juices flowing. They work beautifully together.
A Visual is often also Creative. These are highly complementary learning styles which are frequently paired within an individual.
• Read material when videos and graphics are not available.
• Use special colors, shapes and markings within your notes and text.
• Search for alternative types of media.
• Ask for demonstrations.
• Find a Kinesthetic or Creative learner with whom you can partner.
• Develop your auditory abilities.
• Photographic memory
• Spacially perceptive
• The ability to brilliantly communicate the abstract through imagery
Required for Success
• The ability to “see” a concept through imagery
• Alternative methods in the classroom
• The development of their secondary learning style
• Adequate & appropriate use of media
• Demonstration which allows them to see a process
• Reading, writing, and note-taking