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Visual Learning, Part One: Learning

Visual communications has long been a catalyst to human development.  Before possessing written and spoken languages, early humans used pictures to communicate complex concepts.  For example, thousands of years ago cultures with very few words, taught the vital skill of hunting to young boys by pointing to an image of their intended prey that had been carved or painted on a cave wall.

Today, the power of visual business solutions for adult workers reinforces early conditioning and a predisposition to visual learning and thinking.  Infants learned to make sense of the world through visual cues recognizing, for example, that a bottle represented food.  As they aged, youngsters learned to read from picture books that paired specific words with a picture, such as “cat” or “truck.”  Through this process they learned very early to store visual cues in their brains by associating a word with a picture.  Eventually over time, they used visual cues to quickly discern and comprehend patterns, grasp abstract concepts and interpret quantitative data.

Visual learning occurs by absorbing information from illustrations, photos, diagrams, graphs, symbols, icons and other visual models.  The sophisticated wiring of the human brain allows it to absorb 36,000 images per minute.  Therefore, visual learning makes it easy for us to assimilate complex information quickly and to comprehend ideas and data at a glance.  So, whether it is a simple task (such as finding the correct restroom in a foreign country) or a complex one (such as understanding a strategy for transforming a company), visual business solutions capitalize on adults’ strong reliance on visual learning.

In fact, the majority of adults are predominantly visual learners.  This means they rely primarily on their sense of sight to absorb, retain and recall information.  Overall, 80-90% of the information received by the brain enters through the eyes.  In addition, most adults need to visually see information in order to fully comprehend it.

Research supports the importance of accommodating preferred learning styles.  In doing so, several U.S. schools increased students’ achievement-test scores from the 30th percentile to the 83rd percentile over a three-year period.  In 1992, the U.S. Department of Education found that attending to a child’s preferred learning style was one of the few strategies that improved special-education students’ national test scores.

  • About The Author

    Aaron Howard

    Aaron is a leader, technologist, musician and horse person with 25 years experience in starting, growing and monetizing successful businesses. While it would not be unusual to find Aaron in the middle of Montana every October with his wife Marianne riding horses every day and enjoying the "truly big sky", it is always a possibility that he is online. Aaron’s passion for new technologies such as social media is contagious and its been said that after a day with Aaron you will find yourself tweeting, posting, blogging, searching and roaming the web for an opportunity to be part of his vision. His most recent passion focuses on driving growth through the winning combination of leadership and emerging technologies. Learn more about Aaron and growth here at Full
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