Have you woken up in the middle of the night because your mind was racing through your busy to do list? And then drifted peacefully off to sleep after you wrote the list on a notepad beside your bed?
If so, this post is for you...
I have been keeping a journal, diary, or sketchbook for the past 30 years. Over that time, I've learned to use doodling and writing to shift the speed of my thinking depending on what life requires of me. There are times when my brain is moving slowly and I can't get motivated to work on a writing project, so I sketch out what I am going to say - not outline what I am going to say, but doodle a picture of what I am going to say - and my mind warms up Other times my mind is racing so fast that I can't think deeply enough to solve a client's problem, so I clear the chatter by writing quickly or making lists. I use this process, which I call Doodle & Flow, daily to meet life's challenges.
Recently I have started sharing the process of Doodle & Flow with colleagues and friends. Because much of my own learning has come from personal writing, that's where we're starting. Together we are building a community of creatively curious people who want to shape their own thinking to quickly generate new ideas, thoughtfully consider their lives, cultivate stronger relationships, and live intentionally. I can't wait to share the doodles that these amazing humans are creating and the insights that are emerging for them. Stay tuned for Doodle & Flow... coming July 20th.
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I was invited to draw for the Conscious Capitalism Stakeholder Event in Phoenix in May. Ten Conscious Capitalists from around Arizona shared five-minute stories of building connections among businesses, universities, suppliers, customers, and neighbors. Some stories were funny and others were heart wrenching, but all were worthwhile! Each of the talks was too short to capture completely, but these highlights show the network of businesses that make up Conscious Capitalism AZ.
It seems like everyone I meet these days is talking about the NSA - National Speakers Association - so when past president Kristin Arnold invited me to attend the Arizona Chapter meeting this week, I went for it!
Kate Delaney, the Sports Princess, spoke about finding your WOW. I would boil her message down into these essential elements:
My visual notes of Kate Delaney's talk
So, does this make me a “visual learner”?
When people talk about learning styles, they often refer to people who prefer to learn from visual information (i.e., drawings, photographs, diagrams, and illustrations) and people who prefer to learn from verbal information (i.e., spoken words, written stories, and text-based instructions). Hence the suggestion of two learning styles: “visualizer” and “verbalizer”. These two styles have received a lot of attention from academic researchers, parenting journals, and Facebook quizzes, but they are only two among dozens of learning styles have been described over the years (e.g., Myers-Briggs, Kolb’s Learning Styles, Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences, etc.). It seems to give people reassurance when they believe they know how they learn best. Parents are also drawn to the idea that if their children are taught in their preferred learning style, they will do better in school and go on to live more successful lives. However, the science suggests that it is not this simple (1).
Educational psychologists have documented that people do indeed prefer visual or verbal information and to some degree these preferences are related to their cognitive ability with visual or verbal information (2). Scientists determine someone’s preference by giving them a quiz that asks questions like: “when you read science lab manual, do you prefer to look at the diagrams or read the text?” Once they know a person’s preferred style, they can validate that preference by offering them the choice of multiple types of information (i.e. diagrammatic or text-based help on a quiz) and determining if their choices match their preference (1).
Once researchers demonstrate that people reliably prefer one type of information over another, they need to figure out if people learn better in an environment that emphasizes the type of information that they prefer (3). This distinction – switching from identifying the information I prefer to the information that helps me learn – is what separates a learning preference from a learning style. Researchers call this the “meshing hypothesis” and is the most common way to test for the existence of learning styles (4).
Tests of the meshing hypothesis have come up empty-handed. Students do not score better on quizzes after they have been taught in their preferred style (5, 6). In one study, the researchers found that all learners performed slightly better on a quiz about lightning formation when they were presented with visual information, regardless of their learning preference. It seems that students can adapt to accommodate any type of information presentation.
While there is not much scientific support for the meshing hypothesis, there is support for the idea that the teaching method should match the content being taught (7). For example, how effective would it be to teach:
The idea of learning styles is very compelling because it speaks to our human desire to understand ourselves and be understood. However, it is important to understand the difference between preferring visual information and learning more effectively from visual information because if you believe too strongly that you need visual information to learn, you could miss out on a lot of exciting ideas that are best described in only in words!
Resources & References
People who see Moline Creative work live, either working as a visual process facilitator or a visual note-taker, often ask how they can learn these skills. I always recommend these two AMAZING books for people who would like to work visually:
I have included links to purchase these books from Better World Books (a super cool online used - and new - book retailer), but you can purchase them everywhere wonderful books are sold.
Angie B. Moline
Dr. Moline is an ecologist and visual process facilitator who draws pictures to help clients think. She is currently on a quest to understand why live drawings are so compelling and how to make them as sticky as possible in order to improve communication, understanding, and memory. Follow here journey here!