Law School Academic Support Blog

Editor: Amy Jarmon
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Learning Buffet for Visual Learners

When working with my visual learners, I remind them that visual learning has a "buffet" of strategies and techniques from which they can choose.  Each visual learner will have an individual assortment of favorites from that buffet. 

Some visual learners have to remind themselves of their favorite selections from secondary education or college.  Somehow at the start of law school, they abandon what worked for them previously as if the strategies could not possibly work with legal information.

Here are some selections from the learning buffet for them to consider:

  • Bullet-points for lists
  • Numbered lists
  • Bold, underlined, italics
  • All capitals
  • Different fonts
  • Different sizes for fonts
  • Text in different highlighted colors for printing
  • Different indentation levels for hierarchy
  • Symbols
  • Abbreviations
  • Textboxes
  • Graphic organizers
    •  Mind maps or spider diagrams
    • Tree diagrams
    • Yes-No decision maps
    • Venn diagrams
    • Time lines
    • Tables
    • Columns
    • Pie charts
    • Graphs
    • Organizational charts
  • Use of different colors for
    • Case categories: facts orange, issue yellow
    • Brief categories: facts orange, issue yellow
    • Points in handwritten notes: rule orange, methodology purple, important point red, policy green
    • Different parts of outline: rule orange, methodology purple, policy green
    • Categories for book tabs: formation of a contract red, statute of frauds green, parole evidence yellow OR topics red, subtopics green, sub-subtopics yellow
    • Memorization prompts: intentional torts blue, negligence green
    • Hierarchy within graphic organizers: main topic orange, subtopics green, sub-subtopics blue
    • Courses: torts orange binder and highlighters, contracts green binder and highlighters

Thre are a number of different options for students who wish to convert text into something more visual.  To name just a few, students can turn to:

  • PowerPoint
  • Smart Draw
  • One Note
  • Inspiration
  • Mindmeister

We often are unaware of the variety of graphic organizers that are available to us.  A number of helpful sites with examples can be found by doing an internet search for "graphic organizers free" or "graphic organizers for teachers."

Most visual learners have other absorption learning styles that they should use in addition to their visual learning: aural/oral and/or kinesthetic/tactile.  And, visual learners still need to use verbal learning effectively - they cannot ignore reading and writing.  (Amy Jarmon)

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