Learning style?

I have a question for all, I would appreciate answers that stay on
topic. I would also appreciate those of you who are teachers of
metalsmithing to ask your students to log on and answer these
questions too.

Do you consider yourself a visual learner? In other words: do you
learn faster and retain more from a live demonstration or
video of a jewelry making technique than you would from reading about
it in a book?

When you read a jewelry making text book, how important are the
visual images to your choosing one text book over another?

Do you consider the writing style to be important Or is clarity and
brevity of instruction better for you?

This is just for my own curiosity.

Nanz Aalund
Associate Editor / Art Jewelry magazine
21027 Crossroads Circle / Waukesha WI 53187-1612
262.796.8776 ext.228

Do you consider yourself a visual learner? In other words: do you
learn faster and retain more from a live demonstration
or video of a jewelry making technique than you would from reading
about it in a book? 

There is nothing like an in-person class for quickly transferring
Videos are 2nd best. I can learn very well from a book
as well. I am not sure if that makes me a visual learner.

As a teacher I have found that everyone learns differently, and it’s
helpful to offer in many formats. That’s why I have
handouts, posters and in person demos. As well as already done
samples for discussion and examples.

Books such as those by Lark have really raised expectations for
books. All the how to books are so lush and full of color pictures
these days.


Q 1 - Yes on most things, some things no.

Q 2 - Paramount, if the graphics are poor or do not relate well to
the terms and application it will never wind up on my shelf. The
graphics may be drawings or pictures, just so long as they show a
clear portion of what they are trying to convey.

Q 3 - Brevity and Clarity on factual items such as how to, style of
presentation for concepts which convey experience such as lay out for
a jewelry display that is attractive and gets customers.

Hi Nanz, I’m definitely a visual learner…I learn best from seeing
and images are very important…Which is probably why I went photo
crazy when I did my how to book and article! I tend to skim text and
favor images, probably because I was a slow reader when I was
younger. The other thing is that while visual is important, DOING or
figuring it out on my own makes me retain it better than reading or

Jeannius Designs

Funny you should ask this. I just received a textbook for a class
that I am teaching in two weeks-Business Research. I am doing it as a
favor at one of the colleges that I teach at, since few want to touch
it, the dreaded statistics! Anyway, the point is, in the introduction
to the book, it points out to numerous studies that students are
becoming more visual in nature in their learning styles. I have seen
this, especially in the last few years. Since, I teach at a few
schools, this has been an area of discussion. Also, I would say
clarity and brevity is important as well as the writing style.

Most of the classes though that I teach are online including GIA’s
College of Business and would say this is a visual medium for sure.


I need to see something in-person at least once, even the simplest
version of it. Once I’ve seen it, I can learn from the book and by
trial & error.

In either case, book or visual, I do better with a presentation that
deals with the underlying concepts, the whys, rather than a
formulaic step by step approach. -Kirsten


  1. i retain more reading about a process and seeing illustrations or
    photographs than i do watching a video.

  2. many of my past students were dyslexic and all said they learned
    best, if not exclusively from pictures if not taping classes and then
    replaying them at home ( which I allowed to the point of my own
    distraction- and led me to rule A, set it up before i begin class)

  3. when choosing a book the images are less important than the
    content, clarity and concise writing-although I notice peoples hands
    and wonder why they did not at least dab a bit of moisturizer around
    their cuticles to make them appear less unkempt…i can site examples
    off orchid if you would like specific illustrations of the point in
    more than one book or magazine article!

  4. brevity, is not something I’m particularly known for- i think it
    takes as long as it takes to explain - perhaps ad nauseum- a
    process, skill or technique, particularly if there are addendums, or
    variants that need to be covered, without adding a bunch of
    footnotes, or appendices.

hoping that was on topic and of some help…R.E.Rourke


I am a visual person and comprehend and understand things much
faster when shown.

I also like step by step photos with captions that explains the
process verses long complicated techniques that I have to visualize
what they are talking about when I choose a book.



I am a visual learner. I find it easier to practice what I have
learned if I can visually judge the amount of pressure the hand
applies and the movement of the hand. I have read many books and the
provided is always valuable, but the imagination can
overextend the mind where as the visualization puts it into place.

jennifer friedman

Do you consider yourself a visual learner? 

Yes, I consider myself a visual learner, by preference, though I can
follow well-written text, too. For me, quality of both text and
images is important, because it is always best to have both belt and
suspenders-- if one isn’t clear, maybe the other will be.

On the other hand, it is rare that a video works well as a learning
aid. The detail is usually not clear enough, and parts are skipped
over that I need to see. The standout exception to this is Blains
Lewis’ videos of stone setting, which use animation to make things
really clear. Of course, I also saw them on a huge tv. Sadly, I
don’t own them, myself, as yet.



I would consider myself still a novice at making jewelry-meaning I
don’t do silversmithing yet. All of the things I do now I’ve learned
from books and magazines. (Safety fears keep me from teaching myself

As a developing technical writer, both text and graphics are very
important. The text must be clear, and the graphics must support the
text. I have to admit at times when teaching myself something new, I
have encountered badly written instructions; however, with supporting
graphics that were clear, I was able to work through the issue.

I think also some types of jewelry making demand more graphics for
clearer understanding than others, e.g. chain maille instructions.

Now that I’m approaching the stages of wanting to progress into
soldering and silversmithing, my vote is for taking a class and
watching someone else first. My primary concern (as stated earlier)
is for safety reasons. I find it easier to watch and learn from
someone else in cases like this. It’s more comfortable.

Still learning,

In answer to your questions (I’m an instructor and am still a

Yes, I am very visual when in comes to learning.? I have
difficulties when just reading instructions.? Pictures along with
explanation are very important for me to complete a task.

In answer to ‘writing style’? simple but complete instructions work
well for me.


Hello Nanz, I am Umesh. G. Chavan from mumbai India. I havea M.sc
(research) F.G.A (London) M.B.A, D. GemG. I have during my carrer
taught at the university level various subjects. I am a consultant
for jewellery manufacture & design. I teach jewellery manufacture at
the Indian institute of jewellery design & manufacture (India) we
have 28 courses in jewellery manufacture along with 2& half year
Diploma in jewellery desing & manufacture. The major part of the
syllabus has been designed by me in the jewellery manufacturing
department. I have been teaching at this institute since the past 2&
half years. I have replied to your questions point wise underneath.
Bye Umesh

A cleary written text with images adjoining is what I find the most
suitable for teaching & absorbtion by the students & faculty.

The writting style is very important coupled with the clarity of the
work that the student has to carry out.


A cleary written text with images adjoining is what I find the
most suitable for teaching & absorbtion by the students & faculty. 

I would go even further than that. If someone has to use pictures in
his presentation, it only bespeaks of the lack of ability to

Great many concepts can only be understood by reading material
carefully and pictures only interfere with true learning.

If pictures were necessary, than all blind people would be not
capable of learning; and we know it is not true.

Important literary works do not have illustrations attached to them,
but hardly anyone can miss their meaning.

Leonid Surpin

Good Morning Nanz

I am definitely a visual learner and prefer a text with pictures
over a video. A little too much having to rewind and/or search for
the section I need in a video. Unfortunately, I am rarely in a
position to learn from a hands on class, though that is even better.
Even if I do manage to take a class, I still like a written (with
pictures) instruction that I can refer to again later. I can learn a
lot in a class from other student’s mistakes as well. If I am lucky
enough to get the project to go right the first time it is still
valuable to see how other people cope, and to hear the answers to
questions that I didn’t think to ask.

The text and visual instruction for projects in the Art Jewelry
magazine (for instance :-)) are excellent for both clarity and
length. I also get a lot of ideas from the pictures in
advertisements and try to use my medium of Polymer Clay to create my
own versions of polished rock and some semi-precious gems.

Sheila… Happily puttering away in Ontario

Do you consider yourself a visual learner? In other words: do you
learn faster and retain more from a live demonstration
or video of a jewelry making technique than you would from reading
about it in a book? 

Yes, I am a visual learner. But I am also an intense reader (I
occasionally am asked to do book reviews in my “other” field,
Assyriology). I like live demonstrations because I often can ask
questions afterward, about details I missed/misunderstood or which
were missing. On the other hand, the book stays with you, for
constant reference when needed. For that reason, I take copious
notes during live demonstrations (which is pretty difficult – to
watch, listen, write, and sketch within a brief period of time). But
if I don’t take notes, I forget chunks of what I have seen.

I have had no experience with videos of jewelrymaking.

Most of my students seem to be primarily visual learners and seem to
have little interest in reading instructions.

When you read a jewelry making text book, how important are the
visual images to your choosing one text book over another? 

The visual images are very important to me, especially in newer
books, because I think the art of writing with clarity is in decline.

Do you consider the writing style to be important Or is clarity
and brevity of instruction better for you? 

I am interested in clarity. Writing style and brevity of instruction
are of much less interest. At my age and stage of involvement in the
field of jewelrymaking, I do not need to be entertained or motivated.

[Additional, unrequested rant: I think that Art Jewelry magazine does
a good job of integrating pictures and clear text. Many beading
magazines (which often have instructions on making metal jewelry)
have fair pictures and sometimes abysmal instructions. Even the
pictures may be lacking, especially when it comes to showing
finishing touches, such as the ends of bracelets. I have recently
taken up a little chain mail (to teach, not to sell), and the
instructions for that can foster insanity (coupled with the effort to
find the base metal jump rings I need/want). I love reading Connie
Fox’s instructions on anything.]

If I remember, I’ll ask my students (at my one-day class in mid-June)
the questions you have listed here.

Judy Bjorkman

For jewelry work there is nothing like being there. I took a workshop
with Sam Alfano (engraving). If you watch the tip of his engraver
you’re only seeing a part of it. His body position is important and a
number of other things, even videos are not visual enough. Books like
James Meek’s provide essential info and are probably the best place
to start. But when the graver hits the metal there’s nothing like
being there.

If it’s an intellectual pursuit books are wonderful; being there is
less essential. But even in this case the classroom makes a
difference; I took a Shakespeare course where the teacher was so
enthusiastic that I left the class wanting to reread the text.


Personally, I’m a read and learn type. I can usually figure out how
to do something by reading about it but pictures and graphics help.
I’ve been teaching jewelry and metal smithing at a community college
in central Pennsylvania for fourteen years and in my demonstrations
and syllabus I try to cover all the bases for visual and reading
learners. Students with learning disabilities usually succeed in my

Hi Nanz –

I do consider myself a visual learner. While teaching I often use
exagerated models to demonstrate a point.

If I’m reading a book about jewelry techniques I do look for the
visual images to reinforce the written instructions. And yes, the
visual images will entice me to choose one book over another that is
just plain text.

Best Regards –

Francine Nardolillo
Newbury, OH USA

Anyone can place the graver at the point of contact and proceed to
’cut’, but what about the body-language, correct sitting positions,
the placement of the elbows and wrists?..So much is lacking at the
point of reading!!! Its almost like a ballet unfold with your hands
and upper torso!! On one of my training students remarked how
orchestrated my body is while grinding a graver or polishing the

Anyone can read the ‘do this or that’. But to sit and watch the
whole process unfold in front of your eyes…that is the golden