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What is a Visual-Spatial Learner?

Here's what a task force learned about them:

Visual, not Auditory

They remember what they see and forget what they hear.

Spatial, not Sequential

What steps?

Holistic, not Detail-Oriented

Give me the BIG PICTURE!

Focused on Ideas, not Format

Who needs punctuation?


Patterns, patterns everywhere --
obvious to everyone after a spatial sees them.

Divergent, not Convergent

Trail blazing is the name of the game.
How many things can a paper clip do?

Sensitive and Intense

Feelings rule! I can’t possibly do that now!

Asynchronous in Development

Mountain/valley profiles of strengths and weaknesses

So, All In All...

Visual-spatial learners think in pictures rather than in words. They learn better visually than auditorally. They learn all-at-once, and when the light bulb goes on, the learning is permanent.

They do not learn from repetition and drill. They are whole-to-part learners who need to see the Big Picture first before they learn the details.

They are non-sequential, which means they do not learn in the step-by-step manner in which most teachers teach. They arrive at correct solutions without taking steps, so "show your work" may be impossible for them.

VSL Study Group

These findings come from the work of the Visual-Spatial Learner Study Group, professionals who met weekly for a decade beginning in1992 to discover what makes VSLs tick.. Disciplines represented included psychiatry, neuropsychology, clinical psychology, optometry, audiology, speech pathology, occupational therapy, educational therapy, kinesiology, dyslexia, gifted education, math education, art, business, and parenting. The many characteristics reviewed finally factored to the 8 traits shown above.

These traits show VSL to be the opposite of the more traditional auditory-sequential students for whom most classrooms are designed. No wonder there are school problems!

There is a Visual-Spatial Identifier. Learn More!