We’ve discussed the power of visuals before and how they are more persuasive than words. A new study further demonstrates how using spoken words alone could be problematic for learning.

In the study, researchers tested subjects’ visual, auditory and tactile memories three times after an initial learning event. These assessments occurred later the same day, the next day and the following week.

On all three tests, participants remembered significantly more of what they saw and touched than of what they heard.

So when presenting new material, don’t just rely on words. Use visuals – charts, graphs, images – to make training memorable. When appropriate, also use physical examples to take advantage of tactile memory.

Source: Bigelow, J., and Poremba, A. (2014). Achilles ear? Inferior human short-term and recognition memory in the auditory modality. PLoS ONE, 9(2), e89914. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0089914

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