3 ways the brain creates meaning (video by Tom Wujec)

We all know that great visuals enhance learning. A recent talk by Tom Wujec explains what happens inside our heads as we process visual inputs. In his TED talk, Tom Wujec explains how he set himself the task of understanding how the brain creates meaning with the aim of improving communication so that we can think and collaborate more effectively.

Key points from Talk:

Eyes receive visual inputs and this is relayed to the primal visual cortex at the very back of the cortex. This sees very simple shapes but acts as a kind of relay station redirecting information to as many as 30 other part so of the brain.

In the video he focuses on three of these areas that receive signals from the primal visual cortex and concludes that a great visual, encourages activation of different regions of the brain and help create meaning.

We make meaning by seeing!

So, how can we harness the brains power to make meaning by seeing?

  • Use icons and images where ever possible – for example, rather than just telling them about breaks, toilets and emergency procedures, have icons/images on poster to help them get it
  • Make the images VIVID (Death by PowerPoint on slideshare.net explains this well)
  • Stop using powerpoint to display lists of words – try using PREZI instead, it’s a fantastic alternative to powerpoint that shows depth and relationships between information
  • Post-Its and Blu-Tac are your friends, so allow learners to create ‘visual maps’ of subject. For example, if you are helping learners understand the various steps in a process, put the steps on indivual cards, stick them on the wall and let them move them around as they discuss.

What other ways do you help people create meaning by seeing?

Tom Wujec on 3 ways the brain creates meaning

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