Visual Thinking

What is visual thinking?

Visual thinking is a learning methodology that seeks to explain complex concepts and organize ideas through visual elements. The approach is based on cognitive processing, utilizing images, diagrams, icons or drawings to enhance perception, analysis and the synthesis of ideas. When performed correctly, it allows individuals to express their internal thought processes with clarity.

Key characteristics of visual thinking

Visual thinking has various features that distinguish it from other learning methods, including:

  • The use of images and drawings

This approach uses images, symbols, drawings, and other visual elements to represent complex ideas and concepts, which helps to make information easier to remember.

  • The simplification of complex information

It allows you to ‘deconstruct’ and transform complex information into visual elements that make it easier to analyze.

  • Visual organization

This methodology can be used to organize ideas and information in a logical, structured way, allowing you to explore different perspectives and generate new ideas.

  • Versatility

The technique can be used effectively in different fields, from traditional education and corporate training, right through to business and project management.

The advantages and disadvantages of visual thinking

To better understand visual thinking, it is important to review both its positive aspects and benefits, as well as its negative aspects or limitations. Let’s take a look:


The use of visual thinking offers a range of advantages such as:

  • Improved learning and understanding: Images help students to better understand and absorb complex information. This makes the methodology ideal for transforming what could otherwise be monotonous written explanations into fun and engaging lessons.
  • Heightened knowledge retention: Visual representations of a concept are typically easier to remember than textual information, which helps students to better retain and apply what they’ve learned to real-life situations.
  • Stimulates creativity and innovation: Visual thinking encourages students to forge connections and associations between ideas, which helps them develop innovative and creative solutions to challenges.
  • Clearer communication: By transforming complex explanations into clearer visual forms, this technique helps to improve the communication of ideas. Additionally, it makes information more accessible to people with different learning styles, especially those who learn visually.


Although visual thinking offers many advantages, it also has some potential disadvantages and limitations that are important to consider:

  • Requires additional time and effort: Creating detailed visual representations is a process that can require extra time and effort when compared to writing text.
  • Limits the inclusion of details: While images and diagrams can clarify concepts and simplify ideas, this simplification could potentially lead to the omission of details that are easier to express in words.

Strategies and techniques in visual thinking

There are several different strategies you can use to take and synthesize information through visual elements. Some of the most well-known include:

1. Mind mapping

One of the best-known strategies that implements visual thinking is mind mapping, or mental maps. This technique is built around a central idea or theme that is placed in the center of the page in the form of a word or drawing. From here, multiple branches are added that represent concepts associated with the main theme, and which in turn are further divided into sub-branches that use keywords, symbols, colors and images to bring the ideas to life.

2. Concept mapping

This is another popular strategy that relies on visual structures and hierarchies to represent concepts. It is a technique that reveals how multiple concepts are related to one another, which helps students to understand topics more clearly.

3. Storyboarding

Storyboarding uses sketches and images to tell a story or explain a process. This strategy makes it easy to organize information, creating a logical chronological sequence that can help with planning projects or making presentations.

4. Visual note taking

Finally, visual note taking combines text with drawings and diagrams to enhance understanding and knowledge retention. It is a technique widely used in both educational and vocational training environments, where knowledge retention is vital.

Tools and resources for visual thinking

There are currently many different tools and resources available that can help with the implementation of visual thinking, and they are typically divided into two main groups – physical tools or resources and digital ones:

Physical tools

These are the types of tools that have been used for many years in traditional education. One of the best known is whiteboards – a classic in the classroom and corporate training – as they allow for brainstorming sessions, group planning, and all manner of visual representations. In addition, ideas can easily be erased and reformed. Joining the whiteboard in this category are sketchbooks, post-it or sticky notes, newspaper and magazine clippings and, of course, paper and pencil.

Digital tools

Within the field of digital tools, we can also find a range of resources that help to make visual thinking a simple and effective experience. Examples include presentation slides, infographics, diagrams, and more. Today it is easier than ever to access this type of resource through online software and tools that allow you to produce attractive and interactive visual presentations. One of the best examples of this is authoring tools.

Tools like isEazy Author are extremely useful when it comes to visual thinking. Why? Because they offer a powerful, dynamic environment in which you can create, organize and distribute visual representations of ideas. So, if you’re looking for a solution to level up your visual thinking skills – one that lets you turn your ideas into reality in record time – then isEazy Author is the perfect option. What are you waiting for? Request a demo today!

Elizabeth Aguiar Chacón
Elizabeth Aguiar Chacón
Content Marketing Specialist at isEazy

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