June 19, 2020

Why Visualization is Better

I learned a lot from the Pandemic, mostly from the epic educational fails I’ve observed. I’ve seen parents at their wit’s end, teachers pushed beyond their capacity, and technologies that don’t quite have the ‘umph’ to get the job done. I’ve also seen Zoom fatigue set in, lessons shortened to make weak learning experiences a bit more palatable, and student boredom reign supreme.

Isn’t there a better way to do remote learning / online teaching / blended learning or whatever other form of classroom learning we can expect to wrestle with in the coming school year? Isn’t there a better way for educators to prepare for the unexpected? There certainly is. One answer rests in using visualization as a powerful teaching method. John Medina, the author of the bestselling book, Brain Rules, explains it this way: “Vision trumps all other senses... We learn more, faster, and retain learning longer if we use image rich content.” According to Medina, this “phenomenon is so pervasive, it has been given its own name: the pictorial superiority effect, or PSE.

One of the new learning technologies now coming on to the scene—the expansive 3D visualization library from CubeDigiCo—enables such a richly visual learning experience. For example, imagine a science animation that conveys through rich animation the process of photosynthesis in glorious 3D.

More than words that are spoken or still pictures in an ebook, this delightfully visual and animated 5-minute video vignette can convey complex concepts to children in a way that registers with the way they truly learn. And it conveys the information quickly, so that learner attention spans are not strained. (My experience is that these 3D animations are so visually appealing that students will not mind watching them more than once. See this example vignette.)

The quiet explosion these 3D visualization technologies in K12 schools enable a richer learning experience, magically ushering the learning at hand into the “mind’s eye.” Let’s reduce repetitive drill and practice programs, dull e-book readings, take-home packets, and uncomfortable Zoom sessions and move forward using a more richly visual canvas.