- Pages: 4
- Word count: 935
- Category: Education
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None of us learn the same way; if we did we would only need one textbook per subject, with one approach to delivering the subject matter. Fortunately, academia has recognized differences in learning styles and has endeavored to create different approaches to make the educational experience both interesting and efficient. Fleming and Mills’ (1992) published the first use of the V.A.R.K. Learning assessment. Their goal was to establish a repeatable method for determining an individual students learning style and to provide strategies to the individual student to tailor their study habits to maximize their learning. The V.A.R.K assessment measures for areas of learning type, which include: * Visual learners, those who perform best when allowed to view the material; * Auditory learners, those who are best benefited by lecture material; * Reading, individuals who assimilate data in a written form; and * Kinesthetic learners, people who learn best by doing.
The assessment has 16 questions with four options per question; the subject is encouraged to check multiple selections that best fit the situation described in the test (Fleming, 1995). The answers are then collated and scored and a learning style is determined. The assessment is accompanied by brief teaching sheets which address the various learning styles. Learning Style Summary
Taking the V.A.R.K questionnaire is the first step in using the information to determine a particular learning style. Upon completing the questionnaire, results showed that a multimodal style of learning was the most applicable to me. A closer review of the results showed there were higher scores in the written and visual areas and significantly lower scores in the auditory and kinesthetic areas. Preferred Learning Strategies
Over time, methods of dress, modes of speech and learning styles mature and change. As a young person, it was apparent that the “see” then “do” method was most likely to be successful for me in learning most skills that required manipulation of objects. That method worked well until the material became more complex and theoretical. This became evident by a continued difficulty with higher mathematics, which is by definition, theoretical. Over the years development of improved skills with reading comprehension, increased attention span and the availability of more multimodal or audiovisual material has made the learning experience more fulfilling and effective. Learning Styles Comparison
In my case, the questionnaire results indicated a strong preference for visual and read/write learning styles. A strong preference is identified by a score for the one of the V.A.R.K. components that was four to five points ahead of other styles (Fleming N. , 1995). There were a high enough number of responses in both the auditory and kinesthetic areas to classify me a multimodal learner. A personal assessment of study habits supports this multimodal assessment, the use of printed text, along with other visual aids such as graphs, charts, and PowerPoint style presentations are central to my study process. In areas that require a physical task, my preferred method is to observe then attempt the task independently. In the kinesthetic area, repetition usually results in retention of the skill.
Study Habits Modifications
Fortunately, there are no major indications of a need for modifications of study habits as indicated by the assessment. Fine-tuning my study habits might include the use of more information presented in graphic format and the use of printed lecture notes to supplement the auditory deficiency noted in the V.A.R.K. questionnaire. Other improvements might be useful in the areas of improving the ability to gather information and absorb that information when being presented verbally, translating those verbal instructions or information into graphic or verbal format as suggested in the study strategies sheets provided with the assessment.
In his article I’m different; not dumb: Modes of presentation (V.A.R.K.) in the tertiary classroom, Fleming (1995) states the following: Some students learn while others have tuned out or having difficulty. In observing the best teachers apparently there is no single best way to teach but teachers who cater to the different needs of students by using a variety of teaching approaches are rewarded with improved learning. The author’s observation best describes the desired outcome of the V.A.R.K. learning assessment and its goal to improve the learning experience by fine-tuning the individual’s learning methods. There are those in the educational community who question the efficacy and need for assessment of a given learning style. In the 2004 paper, Learning Styles and Pedagogy in Post-16 Learning; a Systematic and Critical Review, the authors cited a distinct lack of evidence that knowing the learning styles of a given student produced a measurable increase in that student’s performance. Fleming retorts that that the absence of evidence in this case of academic research, double-blind studies, and other rigorous academic research does not indicate knowing one’s learning style negatively affects learning. More importantly, it is what one does with that information that may affect the effectiveness of learning (Fleming N. , 2012).
Coffield, F., Moseley, D., Hall, E., & Ecclestone, K. (2004). Learning Styles and Pedagogy in Post-16 Learning; a Systematic and Critical Review. Exeter, UK: Learning and Skills of Research Center. Fleming, N.D., & Mills, C. (1992). Not Another Inventory, Rather a Catalyst for
Reflection. To Improve the Academy, 11, 137-146.
Fleming, N. (1995). I’m different; not dumb Modes of presentation (V.A.R.K.) in the tertiary classroom. Research and Development in the Higher Education, Proceedings of the 1995 Annual Conference of the Higher Education and Research Development Society of Australasia (pp. 308-313). Christchurch: HERDSA. Fleming, N. (2012, April). The Case against Learning Styles: “there is no evidence…”. Retrieved from www.vark-learn.com: http://www.vark-learn.com/documents/The%20Case%20Against%20Learning%20Styles.pdf