Miriam Reyes Oliva

  • Founder, Aprendices Visuales
  • Spain

Impact area: Education; Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4

Sixty-five percent of the world’s population are visual learners, according to Miriam Reyes Oliva, who founded Aprendices Visuales to better meet young people’s learning needs. Since 2012, the organization has created online courses, books, and interactive applications that use pictograms to facilitate learning. Its tools are now used by more than a million people globally.

Through its Visual Schools program, Aprendices Visuales seeks to transform educational centers into inclusive schools. The program’s approach is informed by research showing that the use of visual tools for learning enhances autonomy in children, helps maintain attention, facilitates understanding, and contributes to behavioral regulation and improved communication.

With Global Youth Resiliency Fund support, Miriam and her team took steps to transform 20 schools in both rural and urban areas of Spain into visual schools. The first step involved creating a digital toolkit to facilitate the adaptation and scaling of the program within schools. Next, a coordinator at each school was tasked with rolling out the program and engaging teachers. 

For Miriam, the grant offered the opportunity to work one-on-one with the coordinators to develop their leaderships skills. A common question was how to convey the importance of visual learning to teachers. In one school, teachers were given glasses to allow them to ‘step into the shoes’ of students who needed visual aids to better learn. With this understanding, the school was able to implement the program using 100 percent of the tools provided and reaching all children. As a next step, students designed and created their own glasses. Together, the teachers and children spent a day placing pictograms in the rooms of their school to improve cognitive accessibility. Said one participant, “this is the first time the walls of the school speak to me through images.”

The 20 coordinators trained through Aprendices Visuales ultimately reached 646 teachers, essentially quadrupling the organization’s social impact and accelerating the process of transformation within schools. Thousands of additional schools are now aware of the program, says Miriam, which she hopes will lead to expanded impact in the future.

Learn more about Aprendices Visuales here.