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Visual Spatial Learning

A visual-spatial learner is a student who learns holistically rather than in a step-by-step fashion. Visual imagery plays an important role in the student’s learning process. Because the individual is processing primarily in pictures rather than words, ideas are interconnected (imagine a web). Linear sequential thinking — the norm in American education — is particularly difficult for this person and requires a translation of his or her usual thought processes, which often takes more time.


  • Thrives on complexity
  • Loves difficult puzzles
  • Fascinated by computers
  • Great at geometry, physics
  • Keen visual memory
  • Creative, imaginative
  • A systems thinker
  • High abstract reasoning
  • Excels in math analysis
  • High reading comprehension
  • Excellent sense of humor
  • Elaborate doodler
  • Daydreamer—rich fantasy life
  • Avid TV fan
  • Loves music
  • Better at Geometry than Algebra and
    Better at Physics than Chemistry


  • Struggles with easy material
  • Hates drill and repetition
  • Has labored and illegible handwriting
  • Poor at phonics, spelling
  • Poor auditory memory
  • Inattentive in class
  • Disorganized; forgets details
  • Difficulty memorizing facts
  • Poor at math facts and calculation
  • Low word recognition
  • Performs poorly on TIMED tests
  • Difficulty with multi-step directions
  • “Forgets” written homework assignments
  • Creates short, sloppy work of poor quality
  • Tends to act first and think later
  • Poor at biology, foreign languages and others subjects which require rote memorization

© Copyright held by Linda Kreger Silverman, August, 1999. May be reproduced.
Gifted Development Center 1452 Marion Street Denver, CO 80218 (303) 837-8378.

Visual-Spatial Learner vs. Auditory-Sequential Learner

The Auditory-Sequential Learner

  • The Auditory-Sequential Learner
  • Thinks primarily in words
  • Has auditory strengths
  • Relates well to time
  • Is a step-by-step learner
  • Learns by trial and error
  • Progresses sequentially from easy
  • to difficult material
  • Is an analytical thinker
  • Attends well to details
  • Follows oral directions well
  • Does well at arithmetic
  • Learns phonics easily
  • Can sound out spelling words
  • Can write quickly and neatly
  • Is well organized
  • Can show steps of work easily
  • Excels at rote memorization
  • Has good auditory short-term memory
  • May need some repetition
  • to reinforce learning
  • Learns well from instructions
  • Learns in spite of emotional reactions
  • Is comfortable with one right answer
  • Develops fairly evenly
  • Usually maintains high grades
  • Enjoys algebra and chemistry
  • Masters other languages in classes
  • Is academically talented
  • Is an early bloomer

The Visual-Spatial Learner

  • Thinks primarily in pictures
  • Has visual strengths
  • Relates well to space
  • Is a whole-part learner
  • Learns concepts all at once
  • Learns complex concepts easily;
  • struggles with easy skills
  • Is a good synthesizer
  • Sees the big picture; may miss details
  • Reads maps well
  • Is better at math reasoning than computation
  • Learns whole words easily
  • Must visualize words to spell them
  • Much better at keyboarding than handwriting
  • Creates unique methods of organization
  • Arrives at correct solutions intuitively
  • Learns best by seeing relationships
  • Has good long-term visual memory
  • Learns concepts permanently; does not learn
  • by drill and repetition
  • Develops own methods of problem solving
  • Is very sensitive to teachers’ attitudes
  • Generates unusual solutions to problems
  • Develops quite asynchronously (unevenly)
  • May have very uneven grades
  • Enjoys geometry and physics
  • Masters other languages through immersion
  • Is creatively, mechanically, technologically, emotionally
  • or spiritually gifted
  • Is a late bloomer