Miriam Reyes OlivaFounder, 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 developed a new implementation model by creating a digital toolkit to facilitate the adaptation and scaling of the program within schools and train school-based coordinators to roll out the program and engage teachers. In the two years since receiving her GYRF grant, Miriam and her team have used this online platform to reach 1,500 teachers and directly impact 30,000 young students.
Miriam saw the grant as an opportunity to pilot an innovative, cost-effective approach while also collaborating closely with coordinators to enhance their leadership skills. A common question was how to convey the importance of visual learning to teachers. In one school, teachers were equipped with glasses that allowed them to experience the perspective of students who relied on visual aids for improved learning. 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. A participant expressed their experience, saying, “this is the first time the walls of the school speak to me through images.”
Learn more about Aprendices Visuales here.