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Interview 2: Analysis - Research
Research > Interviews > Interview 2 Analysis
In our interview with Mr. Dean Ang, we have gained new insight on the effectiveness and relevance of visual learning in conventional education and as a result, have made some modifications to the previous direction of our project.
Firstly, Mr. Ang commented that he thought that most learners learn better through visual methods. However, he felt that some of the factors that hindered visual learning being implemented more often in Singapore's education were the time and human resource constraints faced by schools and institutions. As creation of visual aids and resources generally take up more time and effort to prepare than typical notes on paper, teachers usually only use visual aids when time permits and as a form of enrichment. Instead, teachers resort to the most time-efficient way of "hard-copy" notes. Also, teachers have to go through professional development courses to learn how to create visual learning aids, such as editing of flash videos. This requires a large amount of financial support from the school and the Ministry of Education.
Mr. Ang stated that retention of knowledge can be enhanced using visual methods and engagement levels of students will also be increased as compared to conventional text-based or abstract representations. With higher levels of interest and engagement, students would be more inclined to put in more effort in their learning, yielding better learning results.
It was mentioned that multimedia and multi-sensory visual learning might rob the attention of students and result in very short attention spans, having the reverse effect of decreasing the efficiency of absorbing information from lessons. Therefore, Mr. Ang felt that it was crucial to strike a balance when using visual learning because if overused or not utilized appropriately, it might have negative consequences on the students' learning. Mr. Ang concluded by saying that different types of learning (visual, tactile, experiential etc.) can coexist and there is no one type of learning that can replace all the rest and function perfectly for every concept.
Mr. Ang also discussed with us the use of 'HeyMath!' in our school, an online interface with lessons in the form of flash videos and forums that help to facilitate the learning of math topics for students. Mr. Ang stated that the reason why it was not used very often in the school's curriculum was that it was not easy for teachers to upload resources to the interface and it also takes some time for HeyMath! to process the information and digitize it into online web resources. Customization was also an issue and inaccessibility hindered the convenience of frequent use of HeyMath! in Raffles Institution. However, there were still many other useful engines like GeoGebra or Graphmatica that could plot out graphs on screen and could be easily manipulated and experimented with by entering the coordinates. Mr. Ang felt that these dynamic geometric software helped a lot in the young students' understanding of geometry, an abstract topic that especially requires visualization.
In conclusion, there were a lot of new insights that we gained from this interview. Firstly, although visual learning is very beneficial to the learning of many visual concepts such as geometry, it must coexist with various other learning methods as well to provide a full, well-rounded education for the modern student. Also, some of the factors that hinder the frequent use of visual aids in schools are the time and financial constraints, as a lot of time and effort must be put into training the teachers and translation of conventional resources into visual learning aids. As a result, visual learning is commonly under-utilized in schools. The benefits of visual learning are being able to engage students and increase interest in the subjects while also providing a very full explanation for topics with visual concepts involved. On the other hand, short attention spans of the students is a common problem faced by teachers who use visual learning and is another problem which we hope to address through our project.
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