What is dual coding and why should you consider it as part of your teaching? Steve Burnage offers 16 ideas for using dual coding as well as some ‘don’ts’ for classroom teachers

PowerPoint slides, classroom posters, hand-drawn graphics and a wide range of visual resources can all have limited impact on learning. This is where dual coding comes in.

Dual coding encourages us to systematically and visually approach new information through combinations of verbal and non-verbal elements. At its simplest level, this means pairing text and graphics in lesson slides, notes and posters.

However, there are many more pairings for visual and written information and it is these that we will explore in this article.

What is dual coding?

The popular Learning Scientists website recently named dual coding as one of their six strategies for effective learning. They stated quite simply: “When you have the same information in two formats – words and visuals – it gives you two ways of remembering the information later on. Combining these visuals with words is an effective way to study.” (Smith & Weinstein, 2016).

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