The classroom learning is not for all of us. There are many among us who respond well to the visual representation when compared to the rote learning. Each individual has a different capacity to understand and learn the concepts. The way we learn is different from that of the others. There are several learning styles to help people absorb the knowledge more efficiently.
A widespread myth about the visual learning is that it is only to help the students from the primary school level or for the students who are struggling to understand the basic concepts. In recent years the scientists have made several observations on understanding how a human brain responds to the logical subjects like Mathematics through the visuals. This attempt to have a nuanced understanding of the functioning of the brain has revealed some interesting facts.
How does the brain respond to visual math?
Our brain is a tissue which has a distributed network. When our brain processes knowledge, different areas of the brain communicate with each other. While working on Mathematics, the brain activity is distributed among several such networks. This widely spread brain network acts as the foundation for processing the mathematical concepts.
The research also includes the evidence showing the connection between the visual pathways and how they are connected with the other pathways of the brain. This research is called embodied cognition.
The most popular perception is that the body and mind are two different entities where the body is the medium for the mind through which it absorbs and processes the ideas. The cognition researchers believe that the Mathematical concepts are held in visual and sensory-motor memories.
In other words, observe your Math teacher next time when they are explaining a concept. They often use, indicate or point at the object which looks similar and enunciate the mathematical ideas. For example, while talking about a circle, you will notice that your teacher draws a circle in the air or on the board. While explaining the dimensions, you often notice that your teacher is using pencils or pens to indicate the axis.
There are more such evidences which indicate that the simplest and the most complicated concepts in Math can be understood through visual learning.
Who are visual learners?
Visual learners are those who respond well to the visual interaction. If you come across a little kid who is glued to the TV for every time it is turned on, understand that they are learning from the television set. The visual learners have the artistic inclinations where the progression of the knowledge is from whole to the part but not the other way around which is considered as common.
The teachers in the school focus of sequential teaching where they simplify the whole by discussing each part. When it comes to Math all of us are taught the basics before we are given to solve the complex equations. Our journey begins with simple additions and subtractions and then the multiplications before we understand the concepts of exponentials.
The visual learners do not respond well to the sequential learning. They often question why they are learning what they are learning if the motivated to give their attention. This may seem directly in contradiction to Mathematics which requires you to assume and derive conclusions.
The visual learners respond well to the reason.
A visual learner expects to understand how Math is relevant in our daily lives. Before diving into the concepts of additions and subtractions you can show them why they should learn these concepts. Take them out for shopping. Buy them their favorite stationary and have them help you figure out the total bill for the purchase.
The simple Math can be taught with the help of legos, Piggy banks etc. However, when it comes to the formal math the learning goes a little deeper into detail with the emphasis on colors, pictures, and cartoons.
What may not go well with visual learners?
Visual learners are an enthusiastic and curious bunch and would like to explore and learn at their own pace. Any attempts memorize the concepts will de-motivate them from learning. Do not include timed quizzes and games. Such activities will cause anxiety and will put them under unwanted pressure.
Math is made out to be one of the complicated subjects which is another popular myth, perhaps because the way it is taught is always same. Through the interactive program learning, Math can be a fun stimulating activity for the learners and the researchers alike.
Vivek is a content marketer and branding strategist at BenErg Software solutions. He wrote several blogs and articles on Digital marketing. He is right now trying to understand the Market research, Data analysis and Consumer behavior. A comic book geek, fiction lover and TV series binge watcher when he is at leisure.