Are you a visual learner? Try these 5 learning techniques

29 Nov 2018,
By Emily Z., Student at University of Edinburgh

If you learn things easier from pictures or diagrams, or through watching demonstrations, then you’re probably a visual learner.

As an architecture student, my interest in design has shaped my visual learning style. I’ve learnt and developed techniques to enhance my learning style and remember information easier.

If you’re a visual learner as well, I hope these techniques will help you within your subject area.

Learn through observation

I learn things easiest by watching someone else do them first. As I use a lot of digital programs in my area of study – Photoshop, Illustrator and AutoCAD mostly – I needed to learn how to use them by myself.

When we don’t know how to do something nowadays, we ask Google – and that’s exactly what I did. After watching a couple of videos, I could easily use those programs, because I could see exactly where all the tools were located and exactly how they were used.

Watch videos on your subject area that show more visually what’s going on, whether it’s a scientific experiment or historical event. I can guarantee the information sticks better than it would with words on a page.

Make diagrams of key themes

Diagrams are a visual learner’s best friend! Even outside of lectures, I make diagrams and quick sketches to remember what I’ve learnt earlier in the day at uni. I know sometimes it can be hard to think of a straightforward way to represent information in a diagram, but eventually it will become second nature.

Due to the nature of my course, I have learnt to convey messages through plans and sections of a building to show the key features of a space. You can do this for any subject area - draw a diagram to show the features (and how they connect) of the information you need to remember.

Use colour to highlight ideas

Throw some colour into your diagrams to represent different ideas. This will make it easier to recognise and differentiate between the individual elements of your diagram.

I use a highlighter in my textbooks to bring out the points I think are important within a large paragraph of text. This means I can easily go back and find the points I want without having to read it all again.

Make bullet lists for easy reference

For visual learners, having huge pieces of texts in our revision notebooks can be quite daunting – just as it is when you’re reading a textbook. Since you don’t want to be reading through paragraphs of text to find a good quote for your next essay, make a list instead.

Highlight all the important points in your text, then go back and write them up as a list with specific headings - ‘Climatic factors to consider in a passive design’, for example.

Listing information like this is the only way I can easily read a piece of text and remember the contents fully.

Use a blank sketchbook

I mainly use sketchbooks for my courses, because a blank page allows me to put my ideas down quickly. It also gives me the flexibility to rearrange ideas on the page without having the lined boundaries of a normal notebook.

In addition to sketchbooks, I also find myself using just plain old white paper a lot to just scribble on. I find a blank page allows me to be more expressive and creative. So, if you’re struggling to organise your thoughts on lined paper, give a blank notebook a try.

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Listing information like this is the only way I can easily read a piece of text and remember the contents fully.
By Emily Z.
Student at University of Edinburgh