When you think of textbooks, the first thing in your mind is probably not the images embedded within. However, though the text is important, those visuals can be just as vital to the learning process, and not just for those who consider themselves “visual learners.”
But why are images so important? Here are four ways images take education to a whole new level.
1. Visuals simplify communication.
Images have a knack for making things a lot easier to understand. While text can take multiple paragraphs to explain a concept, an image can simplify it in a comparatively small amount of space and time. An effective image only takes the key, most important pieces of the concept. The rest is important to know, but especially when a lot of information is being thrown at you, an image can ensure that you keep the most crucial bits of the lesson in mind.
2. Visuals create lasting memories and help form connections.
Memory is intrinsic to the processing of information. When we remember imagery, our brain’s long-term memory databases can store a huge number of images in detail. Images also serve to increase students’ spatial thinking, meaning they can better understand and process the relations between objects or information. This is a skill that is not only important in education but will be used by students for the rest of their lives.
3. Visuals are eye-catching.
If nothing else, a well-designed visual will instantly catch the attention of a student, drawing their eyes away from a wall of text that can at times seem insurmountable. If you’re having a hard time keeping students engaged, visuals can help stimulate thinking and keep them interested in the topic. With even just a few images, you can create a more pleasant and successful classroom experience.
4. Visuals can be easily and quickly referred to.
Especially when studying or taking in a large amount of information, there is nothing more helpful than a quick tool that serves to simplify and quickly deliver the information to you. This goes even further than studying. We live in a fast-paced world where information is expected to be delivered not only quickly, but efficiently. An image serves to do just that. In this world of easy-access information, visuals have become not merely helpful but necessary in education and in media.
There are so many ways visuals can aid in the learning process, far more than are listed here. Even looking at just these four ways, it’s easy to see the monumental impact visuals can have on a student’s ability to think and take in information. A visual aid is a truly powerful thing and makes a big difference in a student’s road to success!
Brady, Timothy F., Talia Konkle, George A. Alvarez, and Aude Oliva. “Visual Long-Term Memory Has a Massive Storage Capacity for Object Details.” PNAS 105, no. 38 (August 1, 2008): 14325–14329 https://www.pnas.org/doi/10.1073/pnas.0803390105.
Bobek, Eliza, and Barbara Tversky. “Creating Visual Explanations Improves Learning.” Cognitive Research: Principles and Implications 1, no. 27 (December 7, 2016). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5256450/.
Shabiralyani, Ghulam, Khuram Shahzad Hasan, Naqvi Hamad, Nadeem Iqbal, GC University Faisalabad, Policy and Strategic Planning Unit, Health Department Punjab, Pakistan, and Ghazi University Dera Ghazi Khan. “Impact of Visual Aids in Enhancing the Learning Process Case Research: District Dera Ghazi Khan.” Journal of Education and Practice 6, no. 2222-288X (2015).