Visual Learning Centers for Achievement ”

In the late 1990s, using visual-based multimedia as the primary instruction medium, the first visual learning centers were created in DeKalb County, Georgia in order to integrate them into their Family Technology Resource Centers (FTRC). Other Centers are operating in Milwaukee, Wisconsin thanks to then-Governor Tommy Thompson, and former Governor David Beasley opened others in Charleston, South Carolina.

The Centers all run at capacity with many thousands of individuals on waiting lists to use the Centers’ courseware. In addition, countless thousands of adults have already graduated from the program; and 73% have either made the leap from public assistance or received promotions. In addition, with a single exception, all of the children of parents who have graduated from FTRCs have increased their standardized test scores. Other accomplishments have included:

• 77% increase in student school attendance
• 80% increase in completion of homework assignments
• 400% increase in PTA attendance
• Parental volunteer services have increased by more than 100%
• Discipline problems have decreased by 80%

The visual learning centers’ concept stands in a class by itself right now. There is no other program in the country that has experienced such major success or shares the same approach. While there are numerous computer centers around the country, oftentimes they are mistakenly focused on technology rather than upon learning. Nor do they seek effective ways to tie together families, businesses, and religious institutions to the community as a whole. The visual learning centers concept is, essentially, a way of thinking about education “outside of the box.” think_outside_the_box_brain It is a concept that recognizes that people can learn in different ways and that empowering people with skills and knowledge will help in the fight to close the opportunity gap that is preventing many Americans from providing for themselves and their families.

At the Centers’ dedication ceremony in Milwaukee, Governor Tommy Thompson summarized the concept well when he said; “These Centers will help . . . workers develop the high-technology skills that many jobs of today and tomorrow require. It’s an opportunity for workers to improve their marketability, develop new skills, and enhance their earnings . . . What’s equally impressive is that parent and child can work together to learn the important computer skills needed in modern society.”

The basis for the visual learning centers is the recognition that the greatest gifts we can offer people are self-sustaining learning possibilities — combined with the necessary community resources to support an individual’s desires to move forward and onto a level playing field of equal opportunity.

Ms. Jimmie McCord, DeKalb Center Graduate
“It’s just like you might walk in from out of the dark and turn the light on. I highly recommend this class to anybody because I have been out of class and out of school because I’m disabled, and I’m not working anywhere. This is going to enable me to probably get part-time work – like I’ll probably be able to stay at home and have somebody hire me to do work inside of the home – and this will help supplement my income. With this being the age of the computer, everybody needs to learn as much as they can about the computer so you can, like I did, come out of the darkness and into the light and learn a little bit about that computer -–and I just thank God for this class.”

More on Monday – – – – –

— Bill Walton, Founder of ITC Learning