People learn in different ways, regardless of their age. These different methods of learning are called learning styles. A person will typically develop a specific learning trait early in his or her academic career. This is a style that they will use through all phases of their education, from elementary school into middle school and through high school and college. When people fail to recognize and maximize their preferred learning style, they may fail to meet their learning potential. There are three common learning styles. These include kinesthetic, auditory, and visual learning styles. Of these three, 65 percent of people are visual learners. A visual learner is a person who learns best through sight.
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It is important for teachers to help discover how students in middle and high school learn best. To do this, they will need to watch and assess how the student learns when materials are presented in class. This will help recognize certain traits that are typical visual learners characteristics. Older students will be able to recognize that they have a preference towards visual learning styles if they know what behavior to look for. Common visual learner’s characteristics includes sitting in a place that allows them to see visual aids clearly, preferring to read materials as opposed to listening to them, and a tendency to learn best when class materials are shown rather than discussed. A preference for note taking, retaining information best when viewed on flash cards, diagrams or charts, and a dislike for long lectures are some of the other visual learner’s characteristics that would indicate a person’s preference for this learning style.
Once the student and/or instructor becomes aware of the student’s preference for a visual learning style, the knowledge may then be put into practical use. To do this, the student must learn how various visual learning strategies can be used to improve his or her school performance. Although some students may normally sit at the front of the class, others may not. Teachers who recognize that their students learn best with visual assistance may want to move the student up toward the front of the classroom. Even without instructor guidance a student should move to a location that allows them to have a clear view of anything that the instructor may write or display to the class.
One of the most useful visual learning strategies is to learn how to take good class notes. Colored markers and use of symbols are effective for people who have a visual learning style. If possible, translating text into imagery may also be effective. In college, students that are visual learners may select professors who prefer visual aids over lengthy lectures.
Visual learning strategies are also useful outside of the classroom. When studying, visual learners should minimize distractions as much as possible. This means working in an area that has few people, working away from a window and avoiding the Internet if at all possible. Turning notes into flash cards is also an effective study aid for people who prefer visual learning styles.
Preferring a visual learning style should not be seen as a fault or a weakness in one’s ability to learn. Although it may differ from how a student’s friends or classmates learn, it is not unusual. Student’s should make every effort to use this learning method in a way that is most effective both in the classroom and while studying. When a student recognizes that he or she is a visual learner while in middle or high school, it will only improve the student’s future efforts and academic success. Even when in college it’s not too late to discover and capitalize on one’s preferred learning style.