10 Tips for Using Visuals

Visuals are critical for any learning event because visual learners need information offered to them in this way. However, “more visuals” do not necessarily mean “more learning.” Here are 10 things to remember:


  1. Visual learners need to see new content. When possible present information visually and with words. All learners need to see and hear information to work with it. Yes,  this mean you may need to make some charts and tools in advance.
  2. Take down what you are not using. The room does not have to be full of charts and paper. Only keep up what you will refer to and use. Visuals are not ‘wall paper’ to beautify the room. They are to support the learning,  only.
  3. Visuals should always assist the learning. If something is not supporting or helping the learning,  you probably do not need it.
  4. Use a variety of visuals. Visuals can and should take many forms:  charts,  tools,  manipulatives,  handouts,  passport,  etc. It is important to choose the type of visual that will best match the activity. Visuals can be created by the trainer OR the learners.
  5. Less is more. Since visuals should also support the learning,  you only want what is critical. When you are using too many visuals,  learners may feel overwhelmed and confused. Too many visuals on the walls can also act as a type of ‘visual noise’ and distract the learner.
  6. Use dark colors on light colors. When you are writing on large sheets of paper or sharing visuals with the large group,  the letters need to be dark enough to see. Black and dark blue are best.
  7. Make them large. Write large enough for the entire group to see. A guideline for size of print is 1” in height for every 10’ in distance.
  8. Use words and pictures. Visual learners want and enjoy seeing words and pictures. Try to communicate in these two ways to make the visuals and learning more interesting.
  9. Be prepared. It is critical that you have all your visuals prepared in advance. You will save time,  look more organized,  and feel more in control,  if all your visuals are ready to use before the session. If something needs to be written or recorded with the group during a session,  use your co-trainer to scribe for you so you do not have to turn your back to the learners.
  10. Be organized. Know your session and what you will be teaching. If you have everything you need,  the room set up the way you want and all your visuals ready,  you will be able to fully focus on the learners and their learning.
What tips do you have about using visuals that you would add to this list?