Analysis of VARK Learning Strategies
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Learning styles and techniques differ for each person based on their capability to analyze process and memorize information. VARK is a model that provides insight on an individual’s learning styles. The model VARK developed by Neil Fleming and Charles Bonwell gives a summary of the preferential methods to understand and produce output of the data learned. According to the model the four different methods of learning are Visual, Aural, Reading and writing, and Kinesthetic, which defines the acronyms for the model itself. Read/Write method was scored the highest but only with a mild preference based on the results of the sixteen VARK questionnaires. The questionnaire summarized a score of Read-write: twelve, Aural and Kinesthetic: 7 and Visual: 2. Despite the result, that shows read-write enjoying a top position of the hierarchy, an individual can be multimodal with the use of other methods of learning such as aural and kinesthetic, which also proves to be efficient in the process of learning.
Read-write is the predominant way of learning mode in most of the traditional school and university setting. It involves steps where learners choose to write out notes again in formats they understand better. These learners remember materials by writing it over and over again for a prolonged period of time. They use the combination of lecture notes, material handouts, and textbook notes which they tend to reword it according to their understanding. Rewriting information into one’s own words is important to them for the purpose of understanding the information and retaining it at the same time. The learners also pay close attention on verbal analysis of diagrams and charts for further clarification. According to an article by the Oregon State University on VARK, the read-write learning style emphasize their focus on inputs and outputs that are text-based, that is reading and writing in its entirety. The conclusion that can be drawn from these findings is that these types of learners prove to be successful because of the repetition of the information through first reading and then later writing.
Although a person can show their supremacy over a particular way of learning, being a multimodal can prove to be more convenient and at times successful in absorbing the essentials of efficient learning. Aural learning techniques highlight the use of sound, rhyme and music in grasping a data. The concept that can be drawn from previous statement is that aural learners are efficient at evolving information through listening. They prefer to attend lectures, tutorials, group discussions, and also listening to lecture tape recordings to polish their memories. According to the aural study strategies by VARK it is recommended for these learners to read their notes aloud to understand the concepts, imagine explaining these notes to someone else and alike the read-write learners they are suggested to choose quiet places to recall their ideas. Being a multimodal with scores of seven on VARK questionnaire suggests that read-write learners can also utilize their skills of aural or auditory learning. These learners can prove themselves to be better at taking lecture notes spoken out by their professors or through audio recordings, which help them to organize the ideas that can be re read at a later time.
Combination of read-write and aural techniques can also develop a way of processing information in an individual who may develop the learning style also mentioned in the VARK model as Kinesthetic technique by founders Fleming and Bonwell. These learners always utilize their opportunity to learn through hands on learning of concepts. Just as sensory of sound is used in aural learning and use of repetition is perceived in read-write method, kinesthetic learners are suggested to use all of their senses of sight, touch, taste, smell, hearing, etc. They enjoy exploring their learning abilities in labs, tutorial sessions, involving themselves to solve real-life problems, and also learning through trial and error process. These techniques help them to excel in retaining what they have learned for lifelong.
Kinesthetic learning has also proven efficient in dealing with learning disorders that some children may possess. According to the National Reading Diagnostics Institute, kinesthetic techniques are recommended over medications for children diagnosed with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). This in no means is directed to categorize Kinesthetic learners, instead it shows that these learners have urge of learning through exploring, discovering and by doing. Incorporating characteristics of visual learning that includes picture and diagram depiction, highlighting of materials and use of different colors while reading notes, also watching informational movies that might help them to memorize facts and figures, are also important for these learners.
As much as Neil Fleming and Charles Bonwell’s finding that only less than forty percent of population prefer to be categorized into only one of the four learning strategies, it is rather important to emphasize the vast outcome of utilizing the multimodal study strategy. Primarily, it is advantageous to be able to study diagrams and pictures associated with a concept that can be rewritten or reworded, and read out loud again and again, that can help them in creating notes and flashcards for future reference. Gathering all the necessary materials in organized manner will also help individual to involve in group learning and teaching each other the information. Use of all four learning techniques makes an individual a successful learner through adopting the basic characteristics of each strategy. Choosing a learning method always depends on each individual, since one’s way of learning might not prove efficient for someone else. By understanding the best way for us and application of these to our learning enhances the learning value for each of us. Visual learning that has scored poorly in the VARK evaluation needs to be paid better attention so that use of it can prove beneficial in efficient learning..
Each individual is recognized to prefer different learning styles and techniques that can motivate them to find a method to be successful. Some might have preference of one over the other and depending on the situation they tend to change their choices. Understanding and recognizing learning styles and techniques of our own, we can make ourselves capable to use these techniques to suit ourselves.
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