Graphic Organizers – A Highly Effective Learning Tool for Adults
Get the brain’s attention by providing interesting graphic organizers for training participants. Graphic organizers . . .
- provide visual cues to adult learners
- give adults the opportunity to write about a topic
- can be used to review content in novel ways
What are Graphic Organizers?
Most of us have seen graphic organizers and used graphic organizers. We just may not have known that they are called graphic organizers.
A graphic organizer consists of shapes and lines arranged on a page. The design of the shapes and lines help adults visually see how different concepts and topics are related.
How Graphic Organizers Help Adults Learn
Why are graphic organizers helpful for adults? Here are a few of the reasons.
- Vision Trumps All Other Senses: In Brain Rules by John Medina, Rule #10 is “Vision Trumps All Other Senses.” Graphic organizers serve as a strong visual way for the adult brain to take in information.
- Images are Memorable: The brain thinks in images (rather than words). Graphic organizers create a “picture” for the brain. “The more visual the input becomes, the more likely it is to be recognized — and recalled,” writes Medina [Brain Rules, Pear Press, 2008.]
- Graphic Organizers Can Be Interactive: One of the best ways to use graphic organizers is to give them to adult learners with just the graphic organizer shapes but no information filled into the shapes. In Using Brain Science to Make Training Stick [Bowperson Publishing, 2011] Sharon Bowman tells us that “Writing Trumps Reading.” Let your participants write in or draw in the content they are learning at different times during the training. Your participants are more likely to remember the information if they write or draw in the graphic organizer with words, symbols or images.
Find Free Graphic Organizers on the Internet
Lots of free graphic organizers are available on the internet. One easy way to search for these is to type “free graphic organizers” into a search window and choose “images” on one of the bars near the top of the screen.
Reuse Graphic Organizers for Child Care Related Topics
Many of the free graphic organizers found on line are ones used by teachers working with school age children. That’s okay. You can still use graphic organizers and use it for your training topic to train adults in child care provider trainings.
If there are words or titles on the graphic organizer that don’t relate to your topic then your have two options.
1. Print a copy of the graphic organizer then white out the words you don’t want to be there and then make a copy of that on a copier.
2. Create your own version of the graphic organizer using one of the methods in the next section of this article.
Make Your Own Graphic Organizers – Helpful Resources
If you’d like to create your own graphic organizers to use for training adults, here’s a short list of helpful resources:
- Worksheets Work Website: Choose from 14 different types of graphic organizers at this section of Worksheets Work and customize them for your needs.
- Microsoft Word or Microsoft Publisher: You can also create your graphic organizers using Microsoft Word or Microsoft Publisher. After you open the program, click on the “insert” button at the top of the screen and then click on “shapes” to see a variety of shapes you can use to easily create your own graphic organizers within your hand-outs.
- Learners Can Draw or Write the Graphic Organizer: Ask your adult learners to draw a “window pane” or other graphic organizer on paper. Another option is to provide a piece of blank copy paper and ask learners to fold the paper in a specific way and then unfold it so that the folds serve as the “lines” of a graphic organizer.
Useful Tips from Sharon Bowman
To refresh your memory of how to use graphic organizers in your trainings, read this article from Sharon Bowman called Nifty Notes: Involving Learners with Graphic Organizers.