Visual Thinking and Doing: The impact of visual aids in the classroom
3rd Floor, Charinyarasmi, Aditayatorn Building
Ms. Chanokmont Ruksakiati
Ms. Prang Tharawanish
Asst. Prof. Dale Konstanz
Ms. Dynaya Bhutipunthu
Strategic and Academic Development section under the Office of Academic Affairs recently hosted its 4th Workshop entitled ‘Visual Thinking and Doing: The Impact of Visual Aids in the Classroom’. The purpose of this workshop was to enhance visual language for class materials and presentations, and to explore the essentials of creating infographics for better teaching and learning experience.
Because humans are very visual creatures, visual plays a big role in how we process information. The human brain responds and processes image 60,000 times faster than texts, which is better than any other types of data. The human brain is also designed to quickly make sense of visual input including diagrams, charts, pictures, images, mind mapping, outlining and more. Despite the claims that human’s average attention spans are declining, we are actually more selective about the contents we consume compared to a year ago and focus what deems necessary. Therefore, with so much content constantly being produced and coming to us from every channels across disciplines, 21st century learners need to be prepared to embrace visual learning and be equipped with skills needed to thrive in an increasingly visual world.
The concept of visual thinking can be simply described as “picture thinking” which relates to thinking through visual processing. In the field of education, visual thinking is a learning style where learners learn better and retain information when ideas and words are associated with images. It also makes it easier to understand complex data, improves the ability to think, and communicate. However, our education is overwhelmed with oral instructions despite our innate tendency to express ourselves visually.
In this workshop, Gestalt’s Principles of Grouping were brought up to explain human perception of groups of objects and parts of objects, and how we gain meaningful information from perceptual scenes. This includes the law of hierarchy where information is organized in natural eyes’ movement and groups with layout such as using space, similarity and position of elements to create visual materials that can help learners seek patterns and construct connections. Moreover, the guest speakers also provided ideas for designing presentation such as skip the stock template, no more than 6 lines of text, avoid the bullet points, use Sans Serif font, and match fonts and colors with mood.
To sum up, one exceptional skill of humans is to seek patterns everywhere even in random information. Together with visual input, a teacher can take advantage of this skill to enhance data processing and organizational effectiveness since a well-designed visual input can produce powerful and memorable learning experience than a mere text or verbal lecture. Nevertheless, visual teaching and learning are not free of challenge. It is important that they are carefully and meaningfully integrated into curriculum to promote creative thinking skills, collaboration, and make learning visible.