Finding new and innovative teaching methods is crucial for the optimal development of students in educational institutions.
Research in brain function and learning shows that specific practices and approaches can enhance the learning process. The correct application of attention-grabbing techniques can make a significant difference in the way students assimilate information.
Visualisation and active learning are two techniques that can help students assimilate information better and faster.
The visualisation of concepts makes it easier to achieve a more profound understanding of what is being taught. In the classroom, mental imagery is essential for students to be able to do reading comprehension and to learn new word meanings. Mental imagery can help students to understand abstract concepts.
Visualisation techniques can be instrumental in learning mathematics and computer science. Both disciplines involve an understanding of the patterns within numbers and creating a mental representation of the special connection between them.
Visualisation is also an excellent tool for personal development. It has been used by high achievers for ages to create mental maps with what they want to accomplish. Jack Canfield writes that visualising one's plans and dreams is the first step to realisation. Elite athletes use it; the wealthy use it because is a great way to accelerate the achievement of goals and ambitions.
Active learning is an approach towards teaching that actively involves students in the educational activity. This is in stark contrast with the traditional teaching style where students are expected to sit for hours listening to the information presented by the instructor.
A study published by The John Hopkins Center of Excellence confirms that encouraging students to think, share information, discuss different topics, and interact with each other makes a considerable difference in their learning experience.
Active learning places a great deal of responsibility on the student rather than the teacher who traditionally was the one responsible for the amount of information assimilated by the students. Active learning activities promote higher order thinking skills such as the application of knowledge, analysis and synthesis.
Active learning engages students in deep learning as opposed to superficial learning and enables them to apply and transfer knowledge better. It facilitates independent, critic and creative thinking.
The overall purpose of data visualisation and active learning is to put the student at the centre of the learning experience. It is crucial to build an educational environment based on understanding rather than memorisation of facts. At the end of the day, students have to feel empowered to apply knowledge to different problems and contexts and achieve greater autonomy over learning.