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Dual Coding

Q.1: "I was told I have an auditory learning style. Will visuals help me?"

Q.2: "I'm terrible at drawing. Will making visuals help me"

(*See answers below.)

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The benefits of Dual Coding.

Source: The Learning Scientists

To remind you how to use dual coding when you study, download:
    Dual Coding Poster                 Dual Coding Bookmarks
  Spaced Practice Poster              Spaced Practice Bookmarks
Source: The Learning Scientists

* Answers

1. Although you may have heard about learning styles throughout your education, you should disregard any advice to study based on one's style. While we all have preferences, no experimental evidence to date has shown that matching the modality of learning to one's preferred style produces better learning. The fact is all of us can benefit from mixed modalities because this variety produces richer mental representations of what we are learning. Well-designed visuals are potent because they can be information dense, show relationships, categorize, and/or provide concrete examples. While you may not be given visual materials, making them yourself can be tremendously beneficial (see below).

2. Drawing skill is not required! Powerful, but simple, visuals include: graphs, charts, timelines, lists, concept maps (ideas linked by lines or arrows), flow charts, diagrams, and stick figure cartoon strips to name a few ideas. The process of creating the appropriate visual forces you to process the content in a deep way and helps you organize it in a meaningful way. Then, in one visual, you have a rich depiction of formerly isolated concepts or facts. You can also take advantage of visuals simply by visualizing what you want to remember. Instead of repeating or recalling a term or definition, try to visualize it. That added mental representation will help you remember it. 

Credits and Resources

Resources in this section were created by The Learning Scientists, cognitive scientists helping students and teachers apply scientifically sound learning strategies. Check out their blog for user-friendly advice.

Further Reading About Dual Coding
Be Your Own Teacher: How To Study With Pictures, Learning Scientists Blog
Making Learning Visible: Doodling Helps Memories Stick, Mindshift Blog
Using Concept Maps, Eberly Center at Carnegie Mellon
Using Graphics to Organize Knowlege. Some examples. (PDF)

College Resources and Workshops
Advising Department's "Student Success Series" Workshops