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Effective learning through color coding. An effective study and a great planning tool

Deepika Mohan Deepika Mohan 4 Mins Read

Deepika Mohan Deepika Mohan


Written For ParentCircle Website new design update

Colors, colors, colors everywhere. But why should textbooks and notebooks be boring? Time to make learning a colorful experience by unleashing the power of color coding. Read on to know more

Primary to Teen
Effective learning through color coding. An effective study and a great planning tool

Akash and his mother spend their Saturday evenings playing a fun game a game that doesn't involve gadgets. It's a game of association. During one of those fun sessions, Vani, Akash's mother says, I see blue. Now that's your clue. 12-year-old Akash starts recollecting everything that's blue in color. the sky, our sofa cushions, a shirt I wore for my first marathon, the table mats at grandmas house and (a+b) ^2 formula because I remember writing that in blue in my notebook, he replies. And the list continues. Remarkable, isn't it?

Notice how Akash associates certain important events, locations and even a maths formula when he was asked to name things that reminded him of a particular color? Now, that's the power of color coding.

Learn better with color coding

The Oxford Dictionary defines colour code as a system of marking things with different colours as a means of identification. It is an important study tool, especially for visual learners because it helps them recollect facts and information.

A study titled, The Influence of Colour on Memory Performance, published in Malaysian Journal of Medical Sciences discusses the relationship between memory, attention and memory performance. According to the study, colors play a vital role in encoding, storing and retrieving information from memory. Colors enhance attention levels, thus helping you retain information longer by storing them in permanent memory. The study also suggests that the choice of colors can influence the performance of human memory.

Geethapriya M, Counselling Psychologist at ParentCircle agrees. Next to the brain, the eye is the most complex part of the human body. Every individual visualises what he/she sees and retains the information to an extent. Colors play an important role in helping us remember what we visualise. Our brain processes visuals very quickly, so most children are able to easily process colors, she says.

Colors help us remember what we visualize

The Basics of color coding

Your child can use the color coding tool in the way he likes. But, here are some rules to remember.

  1. Personalize the color-coding system: Discuss with your child how he wants to use colors. It is important for your child to figure out his color-coding system and what works for him. Your child's choice of colors will help him recall information effectively.
  2. Make a note of the color-coding keys: Your child may have different color coding systems for different lessons and subjects. So, the best way to remember his color-coding scheme is by noting them down in a separate notebook.
  3. Keep it simple and clutter-free: Too many colors ruin the purpose of color-coding. Your child can be easily overwhelmed when he refers to his notes for study or revision. Also, crammed notes in one page with colors everywhere is a complete no-no. Your child can leave a line or adequate space between each sub-header, paragraph or definition.

How much is too much?

Colors make you grab the attention it helps you highlight and remember key points better. When a lot of colors are used on a page, it may not serve that purpose. Limiting to four colors per page is a good idea. Using a mix of strong and pleasing colors alternatively helps the brain to remember better, adds Geethapriya.

Colour-coding with sticky notes

If your child's school doesn't allow using highlighters or colored pens in his textbook, your child can make a copy of the lesson and use color-coding techniques to learn better. Alternatively, buy him sticky notes in different colours. This way, he can make important notes and write the gist of a page/chapter he is learning to stick the same. This helps him revise and recall information without going through the entire text. Your child can use coloured sticky notes for different subjects or different types of information.

How can my child use Color-coding?

Your child can color-code information to differentiate between:

  • different types of information in a lesson
  • different study sessions
  • titles in the table of contents
Effective Learning Through Colour Coding

So, there we go. Encourage your child to use color-coding by setting an example. Color-coding is not only an effective study tool but a great planning tool as well. Get yourself a planner, a few color pens and highlighters and bingo! You'll get yourself organised. Go for it now!

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