Dual coding – the 5th film in our Dynamic Learning series – is based on the idea that we process visual and verbal information in different ways and in separate parts of the brain. These then become connected in long term memory. We can use this knowledge to improve our learning and retention.
Education scientists suggest that rather than just using verbal cues, as many of us do, dual coding creates stronger memories because they’re coming not from one, but two sources. And research has shown that students who used dual coding to learn new information had better recall and did better in tests than students who didn’t use it.
A relevant visual can make the verbal more memorable, more real, to us, while the verbal cues can help dissect and explain what we’re looking at. So, as you’re learning, try and move back and forth between the verbal and the visual. And don’t forget to ask yourself questions about what you’re seeing and hearing:
“How do I explain what I’m looking at verbally?”
And vice versa:. ”How can I illustrate what I’m reading?”.
This approach also gives you clear opportunities to evaluate the ideas you’re studying: “What’s one source telling me that the other isn’t?”.
Dual coding works for whatever you’re studying, but you have to get the visuals right. They need to clearly connect, in some way, to the verbal information you’re receiving.
It’s also important to discover the type of visuals that are best for what you’re learning:
diagrams show how the different parts of a system are linked
graphs help clarify the relationship between things
timelines show information that happens in a particular sequence
infographics summarise and bring things together.
Dual coding isn’t just useful for learningnew information. It’s also good for reviewingit. And you can use it alongside something like retrieval practice – testing yourself from memory – to make your memories stronger.
Dual Coding is now available to buy and if you’d like to know why, have a look at the trailer…