Visual-Based Resources for Teaching

Visual-Based Resources for Teaching

Lawrence A. Tomei (Robert Morris University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-824-6.ch008
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Research has found that students learn better when they rely on the instructional strategy best suited to their own particular learning style (Fitzsimmons, 1996). While concrete learners depend on the text-based workbook for reinforcement, abstract learners find visual media more to their liking. Microsoft Power Point creates presentations suitable for the classroom by offering a multimedia environment for concepts and ideas important for understanding. It provides a suite of tools to create powerful slide shows incorporating bulleted lists and numbered text; multimedia clip art, pictures, sounds, and movies; links to teacher-validated web sites, programs, and documents; colorful charts and graphs; and, a choice of output options tailored to individual learning styles. Power Point offers an extensive fare of commands, options, and menus. With the advanced features of auto content wizard, hyperlinks, and printing alternatives, it also provides an array of all the tools necessary to build truly exciting and interactive instructional materials.
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Learners And Visual-Based Materials

Identifying visual learners in a traditional classroom can be relatively simple. Students who prefer to learn visually are often found in the front seats nearest the teacher, sitting alone in the library flipping though highly graphic text books, or working at the board drawing diagrams or conceptual models from content material covered in a lecture. Visual learners rely heavily on their sense of sight to receive information, process it, and retrieve it. The following characteristics are typical of many individuals with strong visual learning skills.

Use of visual aids. Overhead projectors, digital images, graphs and charts, and diagrams are more easily remembered.

Enthusiastic awareness of aesthetics, the environment, and visual art. The visual learner appreciates beauty and attraction of a well-designed graphics presentation. Alternatively, a poorly designed presentation can quickly detract from the learning experience causing confusion and misunderstanding.

Strong visualization skills. Visual learners create mental pictures when learning new material. They remember the location of words. Oftentimes, they close their eyes to visualize the content and location of characters and images. They can often “see” the information invisibly written or drawn.
 Strong visual-spatial skills. Sizes, shapes, textures, angles, and three-dimensional depths are important determinants for these learners. Graphic presentations should incorporate drawing tools and clip art to offer the learner spatial relationships.

Attention to body language. Visual learners often pay close of others (facial expressions, eyes, stance, etc.). While this may not be manifested with a totally student-controlled presentation, the use of icons representing people and the incorporation of photos containing human subjects will suggest more to the visual learner than to those who might favor any other learning strategy.

Use of conceptual or inductive approaches. Avoid rote memorization, drill and practice, and simple repetition. Instead, provide the visual learner with images of real-world situations that reflect the hardest tasks in the lesson. Use visual tools to determine what the learner has already mastered before entering the heart of the lesson and new material.


Visual-Based Presentations For Teaching

Approximately 40 percent of students are visual learners, preferring to be taught through pictures, diagrams, flow charts, timelines, videos, and demonstrations. The technology-enhanced materials uncovered in the previous chapter remains heavily reliant on presenting content primarily through written text. Without visual cues, some students will remained consigned to underperforming because of the inconsistency between the instructor’s teaching strategies and the student’s learning styles.

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