Scientifically Based Research on Graphic Organizers and Visual Learning



Inspiration Software® uses research-based principles and strategies to develop and support our visual thinking and learning software for students and educators. The following information provides an overview of the research data that informs our approaches to providing software that improves learning performance. In addition, you will find white papers and reports that cover the role and benefits of visual thinking and learning in core curriculum areas and in addressing significant student needs.

Learn more about visual thinking and learning.


Visual Learning Improves Performance

Research to support the use of specific teaching and learning techniques has long been a key part of every educator's decision-making process.

Visual learning techniques are used widely in schools across the country to accomplish curriculum goals and improve student performance. The Institute for the Advancement of Research in Education (IARE) at AEL has completed a research study entitled Graphic Organizers: A Review of Scientifically Based Research. In the report, twenty-nine studies were identified and evaluated as scientifically based research (SBR). The studies provided evidence in support of the instructional effectiveness of the use of visual learning techniques.

Scientifically based research cited in the literature review demonstrates that a research base exists to support the use of visual learning techniques for improving student learning and performance in the following areas:
Reading comprehension
Student achievement across grade levels, diverse student populations and content areas
Thinking and learning skills such as organizing and communicating ideas, seeing patterns and relationships, and categorizing ideas
The study also describes how visual learning supports implementation of cognitive learning theories: Dual coding theory, schema theory and cognitive load theory.

Review an executive summary of the report.
Review a detailed summary of the report.
Request a complete copy of the 44-page report by sending an email to


How Digital Tools Prepare Students for the 21st Century

The United States currently ranks seventeenth in the world on tests assessing science and math knowledge and skills, teachers report teaching science two or fewer days per week, and the Bureau of Labor and Statistics projects that by the year 2016, the United States will need an additional 15,600,000 information sector workers.
Find out how digital tools like Inspiration and InspireData can help you address these concerns by teaching students to visually represent ideas, information and data in a way that improves their ability to identify or formulate problems, think critically, and draw conclusions – all key 21st century skills. Research and real-world success stories provide a framework for applying these tools to everyday classrooms and learning objectives.

Download this research-based white paper today!

“The best learning occurs when real world problems are paired with real world tools for problem solving. As technology is an integral part of 21st century students’ realities, these tools need to be digital to be relevant.”

Educator Feedback on "How Digital Tools Prepare Students for the 21st Century"

"Visual learning is the most effective tool for a teacher. Abstract math concepts become so much more vivid when students use Inspiration and InspireData. This paper is absolutely correct on the memory retention of students when you use visual mapping."

Telannia Norfar
Algebra I Instructor
9th Grade Academy
Northwest Classen High School

Read more about how Inspiratiuon Software products support development of 21st Century Skills