What do visual learners struggle with?

young student holding up flashcards in the classroom

Published: November 30th, 2022

Visual learners have many strengths. They are often able to work independently at their desk and thrive with flashcards and videos. Visual learning is also a wonderful trait for artistic students because they can draw their ideas and imagine the concepts playing out. 

But even with beautiful graphics and color-coded notes on the board, students who are visual learners may face obstacles. So what do these l learners struggle with in the classroom?

There are three main ways that visual learners may struggle and there are simple solutions that can be implemented by teachers to help them learn more effectively.  

1. Distractions

One of the biggest strengths of visual learners is also their heaviest burden. Since they are so attracted to images and objects, they are very easily distracted by them, as well. 

For visual learners in the classroom, distractions are everywhere.  The way they learn is to take the concepts and imagine them in action. When they are surrounded by distractions, it can make it more difficult to remember what is being shared. 

These are the most common things in schools that can disrupt visual learners and cause them to lose focus – and how to combat them. 


Birds flying in the sky, squirrels scooting between branches, and other students playing outside are all things that can break a student’s concentration. 

Windows are a wonderful way to let sunlight into the room. In fact, studies show that exposure to sunlight can increase serotonin – that happy hormone. So, you don’t really want to keep the windows closed all the time. 

Instead, it might be a good idea to pull down curtains or blinds when you are teaching an important or challenging concept. Try to help your students hone in on the images on your interactive whiteboard or interactive display.


Sounds from the hallway can also be an alluring distraction for students. This is a tougher one for teachers since you can’t really control what is going on outside your room. Plus, there is only so much soundproofing you can do.. 

The only thing you can do is to try and situate students in the room in places where they can focus the best. If you notice a few students constantly looking at the door, place them close to the front of the classroom or away from doors. . 

Internet Notifications

These days, notifications from phones and apps on their tablets or computers are constantly distracting students. Some teachers request that all phones stay stowed away during class time and all notifications are turned off of their tablets. 

If you want to give them the freedom to have their phones, ask them to create a “focus mode” on their phone that silences notifications during your class. 

Other Students

Children can easily become preoccupied with what other students are doing. If a small group of students are whispering to each other or drawing pictures that aren’t related to the current class topic, it can be very distracting. 

If you are going to be sharing an important lesson that requires everyone’s attention, it might be a good idea to create a reward for staying focused. 

When it feels like a team effort and everyone is listening together, the visual learners will be able to comprehend the lesson much more effectively.


Many students carry the stress of their home life to school with them. Whether this means they are hungry, tired, or sad, it can affect how well they pay attention. 

This hurdle is more difficult for teachers since they can’t control a student’s home life. 

If the student is struggling emotionally, it might be a good idea to send them to the school counselor. You can always  cover the lesson with them one-on-one at a later time There are many resources available for helping support student emotional well-being in the classroom. 

2. Group Participation

Unless they are working with other visual learners, these kinds of students often work better alone. This is because interacting with others might distract them from visualizing or imagining the concepts. 

It can also be difficult for students to work together when one child is more tactile and the other doesn’t learn by doing. However, it is an important life skill for students to learn to work with others effectively. Try using group work where multiple learning styles are engaged. For example, one student might illustrate the lesson concept on paper and the other presents it to the class. 

3. Muscle Memory

When someone memorizes with pictures or graphics, it can be difficult to express these ideas by doing them. They might be able to explain what they learned, but they won’t be able to do it in real-time. 

For example, a visual learner might be able to memorize the exact steps in a perfect golf swing, but when they are handed a golf club they might not be able to even hit the ball. 

This is because their body hasn’t learned the muscle memory steps yet, they just comprehend the basic concepts. 

Promethean Helps Visual Learners Excel

No matter which distractions or obstacles the visual learners in your classroom are facing, Promethean has tools that are designed to help your students overcome them. 

The best way to keep visual learners focused is to engage different parts of their brains simultaneously. Not only does this help all your students learn at the same time, but it can minimize the weaknesses of each learning style, too. 

Here are the best ways that Promethean interactive display can do that very thing! 

  • Combine visual learning with kinesthetic (physical) learning – With screen mirroring, students can actively participate in the visuals they see on the board, which keeps them less distracted. 
  • Photo essays – Bring the stories to life with images describing each part. This will help your students actually see what happened in a real way. 
  • Mindmaps – Connecting ideas together with a mind map sparks creativity and engages students in the lessons. 
  • Flowcharts – Keep them simple and they will help your students visually understand how one action leads to another. 
  • Diagrams – Using symbols to explain deeper concepts helps students remember them.

Using an interactive display board in your classroom will help students engage the different parts of their brain and will unlock learning  in a whole new way. 

Speak with one of our experts and request a FREE demo today!