The Visual learning style is one of three learning styles in Neil Fleming’s VAK (visual, auditory, kinesthetic) model of learning. Depending on the Web site you read, statistics indicate that 45-55% of the population are Visual Learners. Note: to find out more about learning styles, see the first article in this series entitled ‘Discover your Preferred Learning Style.’

Are You A Visual Learner?
Photo by Adam Jenkins

If you’re a visual learner, what exactly does that mean? Basically, a visual learner needs to see the information in order to learn it. A visual learner processes new information best when it is visually illustrated or demonstrated. This is not to say that a visual learner needs to see a picture of everything to learn. Visual can take on many forms — diagrams, color, written instructions, demonstrations, videos and images, graphs, maps, and so on.

If you’re a visual learner, what can you do to get the most out of your training experiences? Here are a few tips:

  • If you’re sitting through a lecture, webinar, etc. take notes to capitalize on your learning style
  • Color code your notes and highlight key words
  • Use outlines and concept maps to organize your notes
  • Pay close attention to any the diagrams, maps, and other visuals that go along with text to help you remember it
  • If you need to study, study in solitude. Noise can be a distraction for visual learners.
  • If you’re attending in-person, instructor-led training, sit near the front so you’re better able to see everything

In a nutshell, the best ways for a visual learner to learn is by studying notes, reading diagrams and handouts, following a PowerPoint presentation, reading from a textbook, and studying alone.

On the flip side, if you’re developing or delivering training, it’s important to meet the needs of all learners. To meet the needs of visual learners, be sure to incorporate graphics, illustrations, images and demonstrations into your training.