Tag Archives: Dual coding

Blog of the Week: 24 January 2020 – Dual Coding and Learning Styles

Dual Coding and Learning Styles

By Megan Sumeracki

Dual coding and learning styles sound similar, but are not quite the same thing. While dual coding has scientific evidence backing its use, learning styles has been repeatedly tested and shown not to improve learning.

As I’ve mentioned in a previous post (see here), I have been working with a team of learning scientists and teachers throughout the country to apply key evidence-based learning strategies in the classroom. Along with two high school teachers from Memphis Tennessee teaching Biology and English, we have been implementing dual coding.

Dual coding is combining words and visuals such as pictures, diagrams, graphic organizers, and so on. The idea is to provide two different representations of the information, both visual and verbal, to help students understand the information better. Adding visuals to a verbal description can make the presented ideas more concrete, and provides two ways of understanding the presented ideas. Dual coding is about more than just adding pictures. Instead, the visuals should be meaningful, and students should have enough time to integrate the two representations (otherwise, cognitive overload could occur, see this blog). There is scientific evidence backing dual coding, showing that …


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Blog of the Week: 13 December 2019 – Modelling modelling: into the classroom with live drawing

A Chemical Orthodoxy

This post comes unashamedly on the tails of Pritesh Raichura’s excellent series on teacher explanation which you can read here. I’ve written recently on dual coding and the multimedia effect because, like Pritesh, I’m worried that dual coding is in danger of lethally mutating beyond its evidence base. For me, dual coding is a process that is best used when explaining difficult material, not when making jazzy posters or the like. To summarise my previous article:

  • The working memory includes two channels: verbal (language) and visual (things you see that don’t have anything to do with language)
  • Utilising both increases the capacity of working memory and allows for a greater number of entities to be processed at once
  • This is called dual coding
  • When dual coding is carried out effectively, there is a boost to processing and learning, known as the multimedia effect

Teachers have been using diagrams to…

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