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innerdrive reviews

Dual Coding with Teachers, by Oliver Caviglioli

Overall
Usability
Usefulness
Financial cost
Evidence base
Dual Coding with Teachers, by Oliver Caviglioli

What is the book about?

This book is all about dual coding, which is the act of combining both words and pictures to aid learning. If you want to know anything about dual coding, this book will undoubtedly have the answers you need.

It covers why dual coding works, how it works, different ways to use it in the classroom, when to use it, examples of it in practice, and more. Looking more like a particularly stylish car manual than your standard book, Dual Coding with Teachers is not only an invaluable guide to dual coding — it is also a beautiful example of it.

Why read this book?

More and more people in education are becoming aware of dual coding. Some may even have a pretty good understanding of how it helps you to learn and retain more information. But, as author Oliver Caviglioli puts it regarding the purpose of his book: “knowing about the psychology and research behind dual coding is only half the story”, and “the skills of execution can’t be ignored”.

In other words, there’s a difference between understanding how something works and being able to use it effectively. And that’s what this book nicely bridges, providing a highly informative yet also highly practical guide to dual coding. So, why read this book? To better understand how to use an effective learning technique in your classroom.

Who is this book for?

The clue is in the name: this book is really for teachers. Teachers of all levels and working with all year groups will be able to draw practical advice from this book, thanks to the helpful explanations and the variety of different types of dual coding it covers.

Older students may also find this book a handy resource for developing their ability to use dual coding themselves while studying. So, although it is aimed at teachers, this book certainly has uses beyond the classroom for independent study too.

Evidence base

From the very first chapter, you can see the effort that Caviglioli has put into providing a depth of well-researched evidence. This chapter, entitled “Why”, gives a detailed yet digestible explanation of the theories and evidence behind the benefits of dual coding.

Later on in the book, the chapter “Who”, gives a variety of examples of real-life dual coding practice from different professionals working today. With this nice added touch of personal experiences from not only educators but also psychologists and information designers, the book provides a well-rounded view, blending the scientific evidence with the wisdom that comes from personal experience.

Finally, as we can learn from the author profile at the beginning of the book, Caviglioli has gained plenty of knowledge from his own education and experience, which gives credibility to his words.

Usability

Although the pictures, diagrams, quotes, subheadings and small sections of text covering the pages may appear a bit overwhelming at first, you soon get used to navigating the text of this book. Before you know it, you’ll understand exactly why Caviglioli chose to set his book out in this way, and you’ll realise the effect that dual coding is having on your ability to absorb and retain the information it contains.

The book is also usefully divided up into a clear structure with 7 chapters, making it easy to follow, and meaning you can dip in and out of it as needed:

  • Why – What exactly dual coding is, and why it works.
  • What – Includes 12 different formats of dual coding.
  • How – How to use each of the 12 different formats.
  • Which – Quick tips on dual coding, including the principles behind its use, and some dos and don’ts.
  • Who – Examples of dual coding in practice from a variety of working professionals.
  • When – When it is best to use dual coding to support learning.
  • Where – Further resources to learn about dual coding.

Usefulness

Knowing about the science of learning, or how to help your students learn most effectively and efficiently, equips you to help your students reach their full potential.

Dual coding is a key element of the science of learning: research on dual coding has suggested that students who learn using both words and pictures together can perform twice as well in a test and remember around 50% more content than others who learn with just words or with words and pictures separately. We would call that a pretty powerful effect… A guide which teaches you to harness this power, particularly when it is as beautifully crafted as Dual Coding with Teachers is, is extremely useful.

Value for money

This book is available for just £11.95 on Amazon. Considering the amount of practical dual coding tips that you’ll walk away with, and the number of further helpful resources the book points towards in the final “Where” chapter, we think this book is great value for money.

Why we love this book

  • Clear and detailed explanation of why dual coding works;
  • Great use of pictures, diagrams and infographics — the book itself is an excellent example of dual coding;
  • Very practical, with lots of handy tips;
  • Real life examples of dual coding in practice;
  • Points to many more useful resources;
  • Well organised structure.

Final thoughts

Dual Coding with Teachers provides information on every aspect of dual coding that teachers might want to know, from why it works to how to and how not to do it, and even where to learn more. What’s more, this truly practical guide is itself an elaborate example of dual coding.

So, not only will you gain a whole load of knowledge on dual coding, but we’re confident that you’ll also remember this information for a long time. It’s the perfect recipe for becoming a dual coding expert. Perhaps this book can also be a lesson for how to revolutionise the making of classroom textbooks, to help students remember more, and perform better.

Other books you might like

If you have already read this book or are looking to expand your knowledge of teaching practices further, we recommend reading:

Related resources

If you have limited time and are looking for something a little less comprehensive to read that will still allow you to make positive changes to your classroom, take a look at our research-based blogs for educators, here are some our blogs most relevant to the topic of dual coding:

Still want to know more about dual coding? We also have an online teacher CPD workshop for you on this topic, as well as two other underused teaching and learning strategies: spacing and interleaving. Check out the InnerDrive Online Academy.

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