Learning is different for everyone, and for visual learners, the best way to learn is to see what they’re learning about. If your child is a visual learner, this guide to visual learning and studying tips will help them succeed in school and beyond!

What is visual learning? 

Visual learning refers to one of the VARK learning styles where children need to see something they’re learning about to understand it. Alternatively learning with visual cues that relate to the subject and topic that they’re learning about will be really beneficial to a child that’s a visual learner.  A visual learner will be at their best when using study material that is colourful, has exciting graphics, and has lots of diagrams, graphs and images. 

Infogragphic Example-12-2

Characteristics of a visual learner

What makes a visual learner? Does your child spend a lot of time on YouTube as part of their learning? Do they love colour-coding their notes and textbooks? If so, they might be a visual learner!  Here are some of the characteristics that could mean your child is a visual learner…

  • They may be a little quiet, preferring to observe situations rather than directly getting involved and talking (which may mean they’re a little quiet in classes)

  • They can be very detail-oriented, particularly when it comes to the presentation of projects

  • Staying organised in their own way is crucial to their learning and concentration, and neatness can be a priority in their learning both in the presentation of their work and their learning environment

  • They’ve got a great memory for images

  • Taking notes in a visual style is their way of recording information, whether that’s with doodles, mind maps or with symbols

  • Group work can be a bit of a struggle

  • The best way for them to present their learning is through diagrams, flow charts, illustrations and possibly even models. 

Playing to the strengths of a visual learner

It’s always important to play to your child’s strengths when helping them with their studying. So if they’re a visual learner then it’s important to help them learn in a visual style. Let’s take a look at how you can play to the strengths of a visual learner…

Use colour

When it comes to taking notes, using colour-coding can really help the information sink in, or be more easily digestible. For example, linking two topics on the same page of notes by highlighting them in the same colour can make notes easier to skim read.  

Pay close attention to the teacher

Most lessons are delivered to children in an auditory style, although sometimes visual elements are included too. While you could try teaching your child some auditory learning techniques, like active listening, it’s best to play to their visual learner strengths. 

It may sound simple, but teaching your child to pay close attention to their teacher when they’re talking can help prevent your child from getting distracted and missing out on crucial details. If they can, tell them to sit somewhere in the classroom where they can easily see the teacher and have a visual point of reference throughout the class, even if the lesson is being taught without much of a visual element. 

Scan before reading

When it comes to reading, visual learners don’t always excel but that’s okay. If they’re picking up a new book, whether it’s for education or pleasure, encourage your child to quickly scan for headings, pictures and chapters. This gives them a quick overview of the content before they start, and get a better idea of what the book’s about by highlighting the most visually obvious parts of the book first. 

The same methods can be applied when reading a chapter or page in a text book or essay. Encourage them to look for headings, graphs, diagrams or illustrations before they start reading in more detail, so they get an overall visual idea of the content. 

The same goes for their own revision notes – encourage them to highlight key sections of their notes and make clear headings so they have visual points of reference to come back to. 

Leave empty space in notes 

Speaking of revision notes, encourage your child to leave space in their notes. There are a couple of good reasons for this. 

The first is that by leaving enough space around different topics, their notes will be easier to come back to and less confusing. The information will be nicely separated by white space, and using colour-coded highlighting can make this even easier for them. 

The second reason is that by leaving enough space around their notes, your child can add visual elements that will help them make more sense of their notes later on. These visual elements can be capitalised and underlined headings, graphs and symbols or even doodles that would make sense to them. 

Make use of tables and graphs

Tables and graphs are visual learners’ best friends! Blocks of text can be difficult to digest, so textbooks that provide your child with graphs and diagrams can help them make sense of the information a lot better. So if your child is struggling with something, see if you can find a visual presentation that explains the concept – if there’s no graph or table in the textbook they’re using, see if you can find something online that might help. 

Helping a visual learner at home

Depending on the subject, homework can sometimes be a little tricky for a visual learner. If they’re not working on a particularly visual subject, like English, you can help make it more visual for them or encourage them to make it more visual themselves.  

Plan homework visually

Before your child starts on any homework, help them make a plan that’s visual and easy for them to follow. Start by using colour-coded sticky notes to write out each homework assignment and line them up in the order your child will be completing them (hardest tasks to easiest tasks makes for a good order!). After each task is completed, throw away the sticky note. This gives visual learners an indication of how far along they are with their homework, making the task seem a little less daunting.

Doodle learning

If your child is struggling to visualise a topic, try getting them to doodle what they’re learning about. For example, if they’re doing some creative writing, get them to draw pictures that help tell the story visually. If they’re working on maths problem, add a visual element with some graphs or pie charts. Tally charts can also be a great way to add a visual element to make maths problems easier to understand.  

Colourful stationery

Provide your child with lots of coloured pens and pencils, and colourful sticky notes or revision cards too. This can help them organise their notes in a way that’s both visually exciting and easy for them to organise. 

Encourage your child to use coloured pens to highlight key points in their notes. For example, if they’re using new vocabulary, tell them to write that new word in a different colour from the rest of the text when it appears, so they can easily identify it and learn more about what that word means later on. 

A quiet place

Visual learners can be easily distracted, so making sure that they have a quiet place to work without distractions can be the best way to help with their concentration during homework. A cosy reading corner in the bedroom, with a small desk and all the stationary that they need will really help a visual learner get their head down and focus on their homework. 

Tuition for a visual learner

Tutors understand the importance of playing to the individual strengths of every child and their learning style. When it comes to visual learning, a tutor can help students develop learning strategies that add a visual element to subjects like maths. 

Our expert maths tutors get to know your child and the way that they learn. They can help visual learners turn data into graphs and charts which can help students make sense of mathematical problems in a way that works best for them. They can also help children develop easy to follow, visual revision notes ready for their GCSE exams

Find out if your child could benefit from the visual learning strategies a tutor can help them with.

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