Thursday, August 25, 2016

Dual Coding in Mathmatics

Matrix, Network, Data ExchangeAnother learning strategy is dual coding which is simply a way of writing and visualizing the material.  It is combining text with pictures because it is believed that the brain remembers the information better when using both.

Dual coding refers to two distinct types of coding.  Analog coding which refers to the what the brain uses to process images while symbolic coding is where the brain processes writing as a mental representation of text.  In symbolic coding the brain knows the letter x in certain contexts represents a variable.

In addition, there are three types of processing associated with dual coding.  First is representational which directly triggers visual or verbal recognition.  The second is referential where the verbal triggers the non-verbal or vice versa.  Finally is association which where verbal triggers verbal and non-verbal triggers non-verbal.

Did you know there is more research supporting dual coding than there is for learning styles?  The idea behind dual coding is that using both pictorial and writing are associated with higher levels of informational recall.

Did you know that until we can name a concept or explain how it is associated with other ideas, our brains have difficulty remembering it or even applying it.  Part of this is that our brain has dual processing where pictures are processed on the right side while written is processed on the left side.  In other words both sides of the brain share the load for learning the material.

So where does this leave us in math?  All it means is that we need to provide students with both verbal and non-verbal representations through the use of manipulatives, pictures, etc.  This is important for students to learn the material.  Years ago, I had a high school student who learned for the first time that when drawing pictures for fractions such as 2/3, the 3 divisions had to be of equal size.  She thought you could use any three divisions and it was fine.

I've used other representations that students have used.  I just realized that for all the ways I teach binomial multiplication, they all boil down to :

This is the visual I use to for binomial multiplication.  I have students who use this to multiply while others choose a different method.

So try to use both visuals and text in your lectures to help students learn the material better.