How to Study – for Visual Learners.

Sure, people may say: “In order to study efficiently, you should know your learning type,” but that doesn’t help you out much.

If you know your learning type, but don’t know how to study for that learning type, you won’t get anywhere. If you are a visual learner, and need help studying, look no further.

To start let’s determine what makes someone a visual learner.

Visual learners:

  • Are heavily drawn to color

    • You may like to color-code your notes or associate colors with people, emotions, or others aspects of your life.

  • Use their hands to talk

    • In addition to this, visual learners may also like sign language or other visual forms of communication.

  • Holds images in their heads

    • For example, if you read a page of a book, or listen to a podcast, an image forms in your head of what is being described.

  • Can easily visualize objects

    • As an example, grasping the concept of ‘infinity’ may be easier for visual learners, because it is a concept, not a value. You need to be able to understand the concept of having an unlimited amount of something, and having a visually-oriented mind makes that easier to process.

  • Notice similarities/differences easily

    • Ex. Differences in color, height, thickness, etc.

  • Understand diagrams, images, and infographics better than regular text or numbers.

  • Are usually creatively oriented.

    • You may enjoy drawing, sculpting, graphic design, 3d modeling, or any other visually-oriented creative activity.

If you think you may fit into another learning category after reading this, stay tuned. We are working on studying guides for each learning method which will come out soon.

Use Diagrams whenever possible. 📊

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Because visual learners love graphs and images, studying with diagrams and other visual elements given during class is a great way to study to your strengths.

If you are at home, trying to wrap your head around how the population of a city increased or decreased over time, simply search on Google for a diagram showing that data.

Don’t waste your time trying to understand a concept presented in a way that is not ideal for you. Instead, spend your time presenting the concept so you can play to your inherent strengths.

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If you struggle with math, try your best to find a resource online that provides a visualization of the concept.

A great example of this is a tool called Desmos.

Desmos provides you with a colorful graph that can be used to represent various mathematical functions. Instead of looking at the quadratic equation itself, plop it into Desmos and look at the graph instead.

 

Learn from Textbooks. 📚

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Textbooks are often described as monotonous, and wordy. However, textbooks nowadays are filled with helpful images, diagrams, examples, and practice problems. In other words, a treasure trove for visual learners.

Of course, you don’t have to study from a textbook for your whole study session, but it is a great resource to reference if you are confused about a topic, or want some practice problems or visuals. If you forgot a certain topic in math, for example, you can go back to the section in the textbook where they teach you that specific concept. Take note of the various images and examples they give, and truly try to understand them. The most important thing, however, is implementing these metaphors and images when you are doing real problems. If the textbook used a certain image as an example for something, you should try to bring that image back into your head when you encounter that topic.

Draw concepts in a notebook. 🎨

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As you probably know by now, images are integral to a visual learner. That is how you remember, and how you thrive.

Research from the Norwegian Center for Learning Environment and Behavioural Research in Education shows that we remember things better when we write them down.

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No, not type them, write them old school.

When you write things down with pen and paper, there is a greater sensory experience in the motions of each letter, and the brain gets more activated when it reads hand-written text.

That is why drawing concepts in a notebook is the best of both worlds. It provides you with an image to appeal to your visual side, while also implementing the memory-enhancing benefits of physically writing things down.

It may be tedious, but it is well worth it in the end.

Taking the math example, you could put an equation into Desmos, and draw the graph into your notebook. This enforces the topic into your head using imagery, while also helping you memorize it through old-school writing.

Look through the PowerPoints. 💻

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Believe it or not, the PowerPoint the teacher provides can give more value than they are given credit for.

The reason? Some PowerPoints use images and graphs to get their point across, and the teacher may often annotate on the slides themselves.

Once again, this is great news for visual learners like you. PowerPoints are usually short and to the point and provide concise summaries of the material. If you want to go more in-depth, you should use a textbook or another online resource.

I recommend starting your study session with a brief glance through the PowerPoint given by your teacher, taking note of the various diagrams and images.

After you finish, close the tab, and try to summarize what you learned in your notebook without looking back at the slides.

If I miss something or don’t understand a certain concept, the first thing I think of is checking the slides. If it gives me the information I need, it is usually in a concise, image-rich format that is easy for me to digest.

If I can’t find what I am looking for in the slides, I go to the corresponding page in the textbook or do a quick Google search.

Learn from YouTube Videos 🎥

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It still amazes me how much you can learn (for free!) on YouTube. You can learn any coding language you can think of, you can learn how to grow on social media, how to start a blog, how to… anything, really.

Because of the ever-increasing competitiveness for viewership on YouTube, the quality of content is almost always superb, otherwise, the video would not rank as high in search results.

Anyways, YouTube provides you with millions of visual tutorials that you can watch to learn any concept in any subject you can think of.

In math, you can watch videos that simplify complex concepts into simple, step-by-step methods, while accompanying it with great visuals that you can watch along with the audio.

Forgot how to use the quadratic formula?

You can check out this YouTube video, which gives a great visual explanation of why it works.

 

If you can’t find a good explanation or visual element about a concept in the PowerPoint or the textbook, try searching for it on YouTube. Before watching the video, I recommend first checking the like/dislike ratio on the video (NOT the views), and make sure that most of the comments are positive. This reduces the amount of time you waste learning from bad sources.

Make your own PowerPoint 🛠️

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Have you ever heard of the Feynman Technique?

In essence, it is learning by teaching others.

  1. Choose something to learn (In your case, that is already done for you)

  2. Teach it to yourself, and then proceed to teach what you know to someone else

  3. If you get stuck, go back to the subject material

  4. Simplify what you know to the point where you can successfully explain it to a 5-year-old.

You can simplify it by making analogies, and using visuals to explain the concept.

The idea is that you naturally learn (and retain) things if you can simplify and teach them to someone else.

The same thing goes with PowerPoints.

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  • Learn the material first

  • Make a PowerPoint summarizing the concept.

  • If you do get stuck, you can refer to your notes.

  • Teach someone else using the presentation you made.

    • Try to use analogies and keep it as simple as possible.

If you successfully use this method, you can learn exponentially quicker, while still enforcing your strengths through the presentation’s visuals and creative processes.

 

Data from ThoughtCo & Lifesavvy


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