When teaching in a virtual environment, incorporating visual aids into your lessons is now more helpful and important than ever before. Sometimes technical difficulties can prevent spoken information being clearly heard and understood, but this can be mitigated with the thoughtful use of visuals to guide a student’s understanding of the material. Inside and outside of a virtual learning space, visual aids help students commit important information to their memories.
After carefully evaluating the writings of educational experts, we compiled the following information about how visual tools can make a difference and how these practices can best be utilized to maximize the effectiveness for students.
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- Provoke Curiosity
Powerful images and messages are more likely to be eye-catching to students. By drawing attention to the content, students are more likely to show interest in the material. Further, visuals that provoke curiosity often require some level of thought to understand. If a student has to think about connecting the visual to the material, they are more likely to remember this material.
- Increase Retention
It is proven that visuals help increase retention of material by 29-42%, according to Dr. Susan Daniels, author of Visual Learning and Teaching. Retention of course material is the most essential part of education. Visuals are a large part of how information can be adequately retained by learners.
- Help Those Who Struggle
Besides just being a useful tool to average students, visual aids can make all the difference with students who struggle with focusing their attention. While some people can understand verbal content, for others, this is practically impossible. For those who do struggle with understanding material, a visual that can grasp their attention and guide them towards understanding is a necessary aspect for their success in learning.
- Promote Motivation
Finally, visual aids help promote motivation. When students find something uninteresting, they will not feel motivated to learn the material and pay attention to the content. Visuals that use interesting pictures, videos, or graphs can help students interact more with the lesson and feel interested in learning about the topic. In other words, students who are interested in the content feel motivated to seek out information and have a more in-depth learning experience.
- How to Properly Use Visuals
After showing the various ways in which visuals are effective, it is clear that they are a necessary component in a lesson. Though the question remains, how can we best use visuals to promote this content? Edutopia.org published an article about the best practices for using visuals. In their article, experts emphasized the importance of sharing the intent of the visual and discussing this visual in depth with students to make sure that they understand the purpose that the graphic, photo, or video served in relation to the subject material. A visual shouldn’t just be flashy to attract attention; it should engage the students with the content. Visuals must be intentional to reach their potential of being a successful and influential learning tool.
As a teacher, all you want is to share your knowledge with impressionable minds. After reading this post, we hope that you feel motivated to put in the work to add visuals to your lesson plan to make a lasting impact on your students.
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