Why do visual images make it easier to remember?

Create images in your head and make learning easier through visualization

The discourse on the question of whether there are learner types and thus the visual learner type is controversial and has been proven and refuted by various studies. What is certain, however, is that holistic learning makes sense and positively supports the learning process. So also the part of seeing.
Scientists also broadly agree that learning with visual language is more sustainable. This includes a language that uses metaphors and thus creates images in the head, but also images, caricatures, sketches, etc. that underline what is spoken. (see Bergedick, Rohr, Wegener, p. 9ff)


The following advantages of visualization are listed in the book "Bilden mit Bilder":

  • better comprehensibility of arguments,
  • easier highlighting of key messages,
  • higher degree of retention of key messages in memory,
  • Reduction of speaking time without loss of information,
  • more entertaining what is presented, [...]
  • confident appearance when presenting [...]
    (Bergedick, Rohr, Wegener, p. 20)

These arguments convince me and so there is no way around a visualization for me. By supporting the learning content with images, it can be ensured that all participants have the same image of what is being said and that no false associations arise. In addition, links to existing memory images can be made more easily and thus better anchored in the brain.

© Geralt, www.pixabay.com

How can visualization look in practice?

Basic design elements include font, color, various types of graphics, symbols, caricatures, photos, and images. So there are a number of different options available.


In the following I would like to address only a few of these elements:

  • Graphic representations are used to visualize numbers, proportions, relationships, structures, etc. and make it easier to record such quantities. But lists or tables also increase the clarity.
  • Symbols enable individual aspects to be highlighted and increase the recognition value and retention time. It is important here that standardized symbols are used to ensure that they mean the same thing for all learners.
  • Pictures, cartoons and illustrations loosen up and can also bring humor into learning. It is important to send clear messages to avoid misunderstandings. Provocative or ambiguous cartoons can, for example, serve as a basis for discussion and thus actively involve the participants in the learning process.
    (see Bergedick, Rohr, Wegener, p. 42ff)

Visualization is not only about the preparation and a more beautiful design of content, but also about an interactive design of the lectures: Brainstorming with the help of mind maps or clusters of collected requests to speak make it easier to capture.
Infographics are also a good way of presenting information in a way that is understandable and self-explanatory. This makes it easier for the human brain to absorb factual information. There are also online tools to help you create such graphics. You can find more information and links to such free tools in the following article: https://erwachsenenbildung.at

Michaela Wagner

Source: Bergdedick, Alexandra; Rohr, Dirk; Wegener, Anja:Make up with pictures. Visualization in further education, W. Bertelsmann Verlag GmbH & Co. KG, Bielefeld. 2011.


Event tip:

For everyone who wants to start designing flipcharts, I recommend the following further training:


Visualization with the help of flipcharts

Spice up content on flipcharts with just a few strokes
Date: Fri., October 18, 2019, 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. in Linz

Location: Diözesanhaus, Kapuzinerstraße 84, 4020 Linz
You can find more information about the event in the event calendar