Strategies for Teaching Visual Learners in the Classroom

Visual learners are individuals that learn best through a variety of visual teaching tools including graphs, diagrams, textbooks, whiteboards, and video.

When teaching a class, the instructor needs to facilitate new information using methodologies that will appeal to a broad learning range and a variety of learning styles.

Visual learners are participants who learn, understand, and retain new information when it is presented with the aid of illustrations, diagrams, graphs, charts, maps, textbooks, hand-outs, and video clips.

The Visual Learning Style

The visual learning style is one in which the learner prefers to take in new information visually. Visual learners prefer to write things down, view the information in a chart, graph, or diagram; color code or highlight notes, and study in a quiet environment using flashcards and study aids.

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Visual learners will often try to imagine and conceptualize new ideas or information and enjoy the use of demonstrations or illustrations in the classroom. They prefer to read over and oftentimes re-write class notes and have the tendency to study in silence with minimal background noise.

Visual Learning Style Challenges

Visual learners can experience challenges when learning new information if the information is presented in a style or manner that does not take into consideration their needs.

Difficulties for Visual Learners Include:

  • Information is presented in the form of a lecture or through verbal discussion without the use of supplemental diagrams or illustrations.
  • Excessive background noise including student side chatter, music, and outside noise can quickly distract a visual learner.
  • An assigned task without specific instructions to view can be stressful and confusing to a visual learner.

Lectures, activities, and verbal instructions that do not include a visual element can create learning roadblocks for visual learners. Excessive noise can also be a hindrance to the learning process.

Ways to Enhance a Visual Learner’s Educational Experience

A visual learner’s educational experience can be enhanced when new information, concepts, or ideas are presented in a way that will support the visual learning style.

Approaches to Support Visual Learners Include: 

  • Incorporating visual learning aids like charts, graphs, or video clips into lectures. 
  • Enhancing verbal directions with supplementary handouts or diagrams. 
  • Providing demonstrations that visually guide the learner through a task or assignment. 
  • Employing vivid and tactile learning methods, such as flashcards, puzzles, or posters.

The use of supplemental charts, graphs, videos, color-coded notes, and flashcards will enhance the learning retention of visual learners.

When an instructor incorporates the use of colorful illustrations, graphs, maps, diagrams, activities, videos, demonstrations, and supplemental handouts into the facilitation of new material it will significantly enhance the visual learner’s educational experience.

Using Videos and Photos

Visual learners absorb information best when they can see what they are learning. Consequently, the use of videos and photos in teaching strategies is crucial to engage these learners effectively. These visual tools serve as powerful aids that can significantly enhance comprehension and retention of information.

Incorporating Videos in Teaching

Videos offer a dynamic and engaging way for students to visualize concepts, ideas, and events. They can bring lessons to life by providing real-world examples, demonstrating processes, or illustrating complex ideas visually. For instance, in a history class, showing a documentary about a historical event can make the lesson more vivid and memorable than merely reading from a textbook.

Furthermore, educational videos often include animations, graphics, and text overlays, which can help clarify complicated subjects. In science classes, for instance, an animation of cellular processes can help students understand concepts that are difficult to explain with words alone.

Using Photos in Lessons

Photos, much like videos, can make abstract or distant concepts more tangible and relatable. They can spark discussions, stimulate curiosity, and encourage critical thinking. For example, in a geography lesson, showing photos of different landforms can help students better understand and remember these concepts.

Additionally, photos can be used to build visual literacy skills. Teachers can ask students to analyze a photo’s elements, such as colors, shapes, or composition, and discuss how these elements contribute to the overall message or mood of the image. This practice not only enhances their understanding of the subject matter but also hones their observational, time management, and analytical skills.

How to Implement Photos and Videos

Science Lesson – The Water Cycle

In teaching the water cycle, a video can be used to visually depict the process of evaporation, condensation, and precipitation. This visual representation can help students better understand the cycle and remember the steps involved. 

Additionally, photos of clouds, bodies of water, and rain can be used to illustrate these processes in real life. Students can discuss these photos, identifying the different stages of the water cycle they represent.

History Lesson – The Civil Rights Movement

A video documentary about the Civil Rights Movement can provide a vivid and engaging way for students to learn about this significant period in history. It allows them to see the events, hear the speeches, and witness the emotions of the time, making the lesson more memorable. 

Photos of key events or figures from the movement can also be analyzed in class, stimulating discussions about their importance and impact.

Mathematics Lesson – Pythagorean Theorem

An animated video can be used to explain the Pythagorean theorem. Through visual representation, students can see how the theorem works and applies to right-angled triangles.

Photos of different right-angled triangles can then be used for practice problems. Students can measure the sides of these triangles, apply the theorem, and check their answers.

Language Arts Lesson – Story Elements

Videos of short stories or animations can be used to teach elements of a story such as setting, characters, plot, conflict, and resolution. After watching, students can identify and discuss these elements. 

Photos related to the story can also be used to stimulate discussions about the setting, characters, or key events in the plot.


In conclusion, catering to the learning needs of visual learners is an essential facet of effective classroom teaching. Acknowledging that these learners thrive when presented with visual aids such as charts, graphs, videos, and photos, educators can enhance the educational experience for a diverse range of students. 

By aligning instructional strategies with the visual learning style, instructors can bridge the gap between abstract concepts and tangible comprehension. The integration of videos and photos into lessons not only adds vibrancy to the learning environment but also fosters deeper engagement, improved understanding, and increased retention of material. 

In an educational landscape shaped by varied learning styles and evolving teaching methodologies, the strategic use of visual tools stands as a pivotal approach that elevates the learning journey for both educators and students alike.