Work Traits

Visual Learning Style

Visual learning style is especially helpful in situations where you can observe presentations, watch demonstrations, and work with visual stimuli.
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What is visual learning style?

Visual learning style means that for you, seeing is believing. When you need to be convinced of something, you find visual inputs to be particularly persuasive. To make a confident decision, you require visual stimuli. These visual inputs could include presentations, graphs, process charts, demonstrations, videos, face-to-face meetings and video conferences, and even drawing on a whiteboard.

Unfortunately, you know you can’t always get your hands on the visual stimuli you’d prefer. In those cases, descriptive words might be the next best substitute. You like to have things described to you in detail and with vivid language, so you can mentally picture a situation or process on your own. 

You value being looked at when you’re speaking and enjoy maintaining eye contact.

We call it: Seeing

The level of importance for you to see something in order for you to be convinced and make a decision about it.

Knowing it and seeing it are two different things.

Suzanne Collins

Leaders who had a visual learning style

Frank Lloyd Wright

Frank Lloyd Wright

Frank Lloyd Wright is arguably one of the most famous architects in history, with a unique design style that’s immediately recognizable.

Wright’s interest and passion for architecture began at an extremely early age, when his mother decorated his nursery with images of Gothic cathedrals. It’s tough to say for certain, but several experts assume that the early presentation of those photographs influenced his decisions to become an architect.

Frida Kahlo

Mexican painter, Frida Kahlo, is remembered for her colorful self portraits. As a talented artist, it’s safe to assume that Kahlo possessed a visual learning style.

In fact, her father was a professional photographer. She often helped him in his studio, where she saw and experienced a great deal of visual stimuli that shaped her successful and legendary artistic career.

Frida Kahlo
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Steven Spielberg

Director and producer, Steven Spielberg, is known for his unique camera angles and movements that have made him one of the most iconic movie directors of all times.

One of his most famous techniques involves the use of a window reflection or mirror. He’ll place the camera behind the character and use the reflection to show viewers the character’s face. The ability to come up with ingenious techniques like this show that Spielberg works best with visual stimuli.

The benefits of a visual learning style

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Some psychologists claim that images are immediately processed by our long-term memory rather than our short-term memory, so you might have an easier time retaining visual information.

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Visuals—from graphs to demonstrations—are often more universally understood than written or verbal communication, especially across cultures.

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When looking at something, you are likely able to identify themes, trends, and how pieces are connected, better than if you only heard or read that same information.

The blind spots of a visual learning style

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In meetings, lectures, or presentations that don’t include visual aids, you might struggle to focus and absorb the information.

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Only so much can be presented visually, so you run the risk of only getting high-level info rather than all of the nitty gritty details if you completely avoid other learning styles, like reading or hearing.

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Because you love visual stimuli, you might find yourself getting distracted by other visuals—even if they aren’t immediately relevant to what you’re supposed to be learning or deciding.

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How to increase your visual learning style

1) Flex your imagination.

When something is read or explained to you, try visualizing it. Close your eyes if you have to. Picture the situation that’s being described.

If you want to practice on your own, listening to an audio book is another great way to build your imagination and get more comfortable with visualization.

2) Doodle while you listen.

Most visual learners are known for doodling while they listen. It’s not meant to be rude or distract them from the subject. Rather, it’s their way to process information and stay focused.

Give it a try for yourself and sketch out some doodles while listening—especially if they’re simple diagrams or images that are related to the subject.

3) Ask for a demonstration.

Want to process more visual information? Ask for a demonstration. Rather than having someone explain how something is done, have them show you visuals through a slideshow or demonstration.

You’ll give yourself an opportunity to take in visual stimuli, and you’ll also confirm your understanding more than if you had only heard or read those directions.

4) Dress up your notes.

Get out some brightly-colored highlighters or try your hand at sketching out some charts and diagrams. 

Do what you want to add some visual appeal to your notes, rather than relying solely on words on a page. You’ll make that written information far more visually interesting—and perhaps even boost your comprehension and retention.

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