Have you ever wondered why your friend scores better than you even after you both have studied from the same textbooks, had the same teacher and everything else done for the preparation is the same? Let’s just say you both have the same IQ yet the outcome is different. Well, the answer lies in your preferences for learning and grasping things. The way we have preferences for clothes, food, choice of beverages, etc in the same way we have preferences for learning. The VARK learning style is one such method. VARK stands for Visual, Aural, Reading and Kinesthetic. Let’s explore more about what VARK is, why it is important and how it can simplify and smoothen your learning process.
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Designed by Neil D. Fleming, VARK is questionnaire-based research which is done either on a piece of paper or the questionnaire is available on the official website of VARK. It is helpful for people who are keen to find out how they can learn based on their preferences. A set of 16 objective type questions are provided and based on the results one gets to know about their choice of learning. You must have come across various questionnaires on the internet such as, “Answer these questions and we will tell you your age” etc. this is something similar. Where the answers/replies are analyzes based on an algorithm and the results determine what your VARK learning style/preference is.
VARK simply refers to Visual, Aural, Read/Write, and Kinesthetic modalities. These modalities are used for studying information and reflecting the preferences based on which one learns or communicates. The various modalities VARK learning style are as follows:
This modality under VARK Learning Styles consists of the representation of statistics in maps, various diagrams, charts and graphs, designs, patterns, and various symbolic devices, etc. It is a graphical representation of information. It excludes real images, motion pictures or movies, or PowerPoint presentations. A person with visual preference, in sense of taking in information, would grasp better when something is drawn on a piece of paper or a whiteboard as an explanation. In the VARK learning style, Visual is the least common preference in a single form by far.
Are you a person who understands and remembers better when the information gave is oral or auditory? Then Aural modality might be your go-to style while learning. Persons who have this mode as their principal choice have notified that they grasp best from lectures, discussions, and everything else that’s expressed orally. Even texts that are in colloquial form, or in slang and non-formal language are considered as aural. The Aural preference also consists of speaking to oneself or expressing out loud about one’s ideas and thoughts.
Do you maintain dairies, lists, journals, dictionaries? Fond of quotations, and prefer it when your thoughts are frozen in words? And love to devote your time reading? Then your preference is Read/ Write modality. The preference is for facts displayed in words. This is common among students and teachers. This preference gives more significance to information taken in or given out in form of text.
The most common modality in the VARK learning style in a single form is Kinesthetic. The word Kinesthetic means learning through the senses in form of experiences or day-to-day practices. People who prefer this mode are connected to reality. They learn better if the information given, is examples, personal experiences, daily practices, case studies, and various other stimulants such as video presentation of real things. They prefer the error and trial method of learning or learn through mistakes. People learn through all of their senses to understand. When the teachers use examples of their own experiences or that of the students, it is more likely to be remembered better. Don’t you still remember your Math teacher’s example of How you bought 1 kg of oranges for 120 INR?
Can’t distinguish what helps you learn? Is it Visual or Auditory or both or maybe any three or all of them? When one has several preferences it is called multimodality. There are two types:
VARK Type 01:- People who tend to be more flexible in terms of communication and learning. They choose the mode according to the context of information being taken in or according to the situations. In their VARK scores, the preference be it bimodal or trimodal or all four of them are almost equal.
VARK Type 02:- People with this preference are considered deep thinkers. The input and output of the information in all their preferred modalities are deeply analyzed by them until they are not satisfied. With such an in-depth analysis, they gain a broader and better understanding.
The people who have a mix of both types are termed as VARK transition.
Thus, the VARK learning styles are not the only approach. The 16 questions in the VARK learning style only cover a part of the student’s set of preferences. There are many components in a learning style. For example, a student might prefer studying in day time while another might prefer the night. According to reports of some inventories, there are more than 20 components in a learning style such as personality, motivation, social and environmental preferences, etc.
VARK Questionnaire and Strategies
The VARK learning style consists of a questionnaire with 16 questions. They all are multiple-choice questions and the respondents can choose multiple answers according to their preference. Once the answers are submitted, significant modalities are found by applying an algorithm to the scores. For a broader and in-depth understanding of the VARK learning style, one can also answer the strategies questionnaire. Entirely based on VARK preferences one can develop additional and effective strategies such as Visual, Aural, Read/Write, and Kinesthetic or multi modalities for learning, and for improving communication skills. The VARK Questionnaire is used to perceive which modalities someone prefers whilst learning, while the Strategies Questionnaire asks them to have a look at the techniques/strategies that they can use to study. The helpsheets provided on the website can be relevant for getting a better understanding of learning in an academic environment and for better communication at the workplace
Things to Keep in Mind
- The VARK style of learning is about getting to know one’s preferences, it doesn’t determine one’s strengths or weaknesses.
- To know about the preferences, the questionnaire should be completed honestly.
- VARK is more about learning not about training, it is more about students’ preference of learning than an educator’s’ preference for teaching.
- Life experiences and other factors may change or blur the preferences as new methods are acquired to apply on VARK modes.
- For understanding the VARK learning styles, one needs to interpret each modality really well.
The VARK questionnaire shows the type of techniques that help to gain knowledge. It helps the ones who’ve been having issues with their learning and has unique applications in the fields of business, sports, schooling, and education. Mentors, coaches, trainers, educators, and instructors who would really like to expand knowledge about learning through various strategies can take the help of VARK style learning. It may be used with an enterprise group, a team, or a grade or with counselling, and one-to-one training, and however, it does require a few rationalizations to keep away from jumping to irrelevant conclusions.
Understanding one’s own learning preferences can be helpful in many ways. The VARK Learning styles help you experiment with your learning process and interests. This way, you can modify and create your learning style! Want to study a degree in Education? Get in touch with our Leverage Edu experts and we will assist you with selecting the best course and university as per your aspirations and interests. Sign up for a free session with us now!