Drawing as a Memory Booster: Unveiling the Educational Power of Visual Thinking

The way we learn and retain information is a subject of ongoing research. A recent study from the University of Waterloo has shed light on an often-overlooked aspect of learning: visual thinking. In this article, we will examine the findings of this study and explore how visual thinking, particularly drawing, can enrich our educational experience.

What the Research Says

A study conducted by Myra Fernandes, Jeffrey Wammes, and Melissa Meade compared different learning methods, including reading, writing, and drawing. The results showed that drawing was nearly twice as effective for recalling information as other methods. Specifically, participants were able to recall 45% of the terms they had drawn, compared to just 20% of those they had written.
Drawing engages multiple learning modalities: visual, kinesthetic, and semantic. Unlike other forms of learning that are often passive, drawing is an active activity. It compels learners to interact with the information, break it down, and reconstruct it in a way that makes sense to them.

Practical Classroom Applications

- Illustrated Notebooks: Encourage students to divide their notebooks into two sections: one for written notes and another for drawings and diagrams.

- Mind Mapping: Use mind maps to help students organize their ideas and create connections between different concepts.

- Sketchnoting: Encourage students to use sketchnoting to summarize topics.

- Data Visualization: Integrate simple data visualization exercises to help students better understand concepts visually.

In Conclusion

Visual thinking and its tools offer a promising avenue for enhancing learning. Not only do they engage multiple learning modalities, but they also diversify pedagogy and boost learner motivation.


The Science of Drawing and Memory (Edutopia)

The Surprisingly Powerful Influence of Drawing on Memory (Study)