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Why are the HOW2 techniques so visual?

The fact that the image is paired down and devoid of too much contextual information facilitates teachers to focus on the teaching and learning inherent in the activity and then adapt it to their context to meet the needs of their students

Professor Kate Wall, School of Education, University of Strathclyde

Because we wanted to make it quicker and easier for educators to learn new methods, there are six main ways we think visuals support learning. 

Using a combination of still visuals and words as part of the same graphic to depict teaching techniques provide a common understanding of a technique.* This clarity means faculty can focus on considering how to adapt it to their context. It means that, for example, two faculty teaching very different subjects (let’s say physics and horsehusbandry) have a shared understanding of the technique, which makes a conversation around how they would each adapt and apply it to their subject easier. Put another way, without the visual; they would have to assume a shared understanding. 

*Using words alone or visuals separate from text to explain a technique means the teacher has to expend mental energy (cognitive load) working out what the technique is before starting on the core task of adapting it to their context. It also means persons will forever be assuming the emerging understandings are shared. 

The same six reasons support students AND educators in learning.

Research in workplace learning shows that using a combination of still visuals and words is the most effective way to communicate or teach procedures. However, teaching is procedural, so we’ve applied this research to depict evidence-informed teaching techniques so that teachers can learn new methods more quickly, more easily and more accurately.

Here’s the full quote from Kate.

The visual element of the How2s offer a direct path into what a teaching technique IS about, its core pedagogic intent. The fact that the image is paired down and devoid of too much contextual information facilitates teachers to focus on the teaching and learning inherent in the activity and then adapt it to their context to meet the needs of their students (rather than having to work out’ / guess’ what to do). The universality of the images and the ideas they represent provides a focus for professional dialogue (visuals put everyone on the same page — not open to misinterpretation ) and for dialogue between teachers and students about what worked in the classroom.

These factors combine to make the complexity of teacher training and development quicker, easier and more effective.”

Professor Kate Wall, University of Strathclyde

 
The original 60" concept video explaining the visual rationale behind HOW2s

Resource

Six Ways Visuals Help Learning

A poster explaining the top six ways visuals help learning 

Download
 
A 1' 43" introduction to the HOW2 application