Visuals in Learning

BFLGffJohn Medina, in his 10 Brain Rules states “Vision trumps all other senses” and he quotes studies that show that recognition doubles for a picture compared with text.

So why does PowerPoint take such a prominent position in training, especially slides, which contain predominantly words? Too many times trainers use the PowerPoint slides not as a visual aid, but as a prompt for their presentations.

Moving away from a presentation style and making learning more interactive, allows us to use visuals much more to enhance the learning experience. By using activities and making training learner-centred as in accelerated learning sessions, we make it more memorable.

As a starting point, we can add relevant pictures to the PowerPoint slides – sometimes using quirky and humorous pictures can make the learning stand out more and make it stick. A PowerPoint slide presentation, though very portable and flexible, is fleeting. The slide appears and then the next one comes along. They also only cover one part of one wall. To make your training room look appealing , inviting and exciting, using flip charts and posters on the wall can provide an extra dimension to the learning.



Because we are drawn to pictures, even whilst doing other activities, we will take in what is on the walls.  We can use part of the wall space by means of an introduction as in the photo to the right. We can also use the walls during the initial coffee time to get people to write down what they would like to get out of the session.

At the last Brain Friendly Learning Group in Leeds, I ran a session called “Flipchart Frenzy” where we spent two hours learning how to:

  • Draw a simple cartoon character
  • Use facial expressions on a simple face to convey emotion
  • Draw some simple frames for flipcharts
  • Draw some simple but useful symbols
  • Develop their own simple font
  • Put it all together to make a visual out of a well used learning model

The flip chart below shows the feedback from the session. (WWW stands for “what went well” and EBI stands for “Even Better IF”)





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