We live in a reality that forces us to constantly be learning, developing skills and abilities that allow ourselves to adapt to new social, cultural and professional environments. Developing skills of learning to learn should be one of the main objectives in the educational system. Knowing these techniques of studying, which allows us to develop with students, is fundamental in teaching.
These study techniques, based visually organizing concepts, are commonly used because of their appeal, simplicity and efficiency. All students should know them and be able to utilize the method best suitable for their form of learning.
Visual study techniques
- Concept maps serve to hierarchically organize concepts and their relationships, all of which are symbolized by words and lines. The hierarchical organization converts into tools that are very useful for students. Students can complete the maps on their own by extracting concepts and relationships from a complex text, or by using a pre-made template.
- Mindmaps are used as a technique of graphic representation of thoughts and knowledge, in which the theme and main concept are placed in the center. All of the concepts related to the central idea can branch off in different directions from there. With this method, students create their own free interpretation of the concepts and their relationships.
- Flowcharts are a sequence of ideas or steps organized from the most general to the most specific. One could be used with scientific theory, for example.
- Visual notes are a form of note-taking, which combines text and drawings in a nonlinear way with the objective of creating a visual summary of the ideas and relationships between them.
- Venn diagram is a graphic representation, usually formed by circles, that demonstrate what two differentiating concepts or themes have in common.
- Sequential maps are a way of representing a chronological sequence in a coherent series.
- Infographics are a way of graphically representing data, facts and descriptions through more or less figurative visual elements, such as maps, arrows and colors. Overall, they can be a great tool for reference.
We all construct our own unique learning environment, which we use to link our previous knowledge, experience and associations. These study techniques help us to improve and succeed in the learning process by representing the knowledge in a way that we can understand for ourselves.
The benefits of using mental or conceptual maps are infinite
- Facilitate interpretation and reading comprehension
- Stimulate the processes of metacognition (to monitor learning)
- Find links between previous knowledge and new discoveries
- Develop logical-analytical thinking and creativity
- Improve knowledge retention
- Facilitate deductive thinking
Some conceptual maps to work with in the classroom
- Changes in matter
- Earth’s Surface: Internal and External Processes
- Simple machines
- Producing Electricity