Virtual Visual Thinking Strategies: limitations and unexpected findings in a time of pandemic

  • Vincenza Ferrara Sapienza University of Rome
  • Catherine Wilkins
Keywords: Skills, visual art, visual thinking strategies, learning, assessment


Colleges and Universities across the United States are seeking to instill general education competencies. Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS), an inquiry-based methodology developed by Paul Yenawine and Abigail Housen, has been shown to in qualitative studies to promote such skills. This research project sought to explore whether utilizing VTS in an undergraduate classroom could improve students’ attainment of general education competencies, as measured by the VTSkill Rubric. We conducted a research experiment with 27 U.S. undergraduate students in Spring 2021; due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the students’ learning experience and the research experiment took place fully online. We did not find the expected significant improvements in critical thinking, observation skills, but only in linguistic expression, and problem solving. Future directions for research include replicating the study in person, altering the methodology, as well as developing new research projects to more thoroughly examine the most beneficial applications of VTS for college students.