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VARK is a model for analyzing various learning styles adopted by students in a school setting. A learning style in this case refers to the depiction of a process that a student uses to learn best. It forms the most preferred way of accessing, synthesizing and retaining information. VARK is an acronym for visual, auditory, reading and writing and kinesthetic students. It was developed by Neil Fleming and Charles Bonwell. The four modalities help the students to evaluate their preferred learning styles. Evaluation is done online with a self-scoring set of questions.
The VARK model categorizes learners into four main groups. The first group categorized as visual learners are those who learn best through use of visual aids. They prefer looking at pictures, diagrams and flow-chart (Staley & Staley, 2011). They also like getting information from watching videos and through demonstrations. Furthermore, visual learners prefer to read a topic ahead of the lesson time in class for better comprehension. Their way of taking notes is through outlining, drawing maps and figures (Staley & Staley, 2011). Another characteristic associated with visual learners is that they visualize their ideas and thoughts (Scott, 2010). They will usually memorize through repetitive reading and writing of notes. They will also visualize the answers in their minds, especially during an exam.
Auditory learners prefer hearing information to other learning styles. Such students like attending classes so as to listen to the lecturer. They will be found reading text passages aloud. Auditory learners further enjoy discussing a topic with other students or with the teacher to enhance their understanding. Some of them go an extra mile to explain the topic to other students. During an exam, these type of student can recall a lecturer’s voice if they want to remember a concept they learnt in class (Van Blerkom, 2009).
Kinesthetic learning is a learning style that requires doing things practically. Such learners prefer being engaged in a practical demonstration while learning a particular topic. They find it hard to process an idea is it is done by someone else, instead, they like getting hands on experience in order to learn. They also like noting down main points while doing studies. Moreover, they like experiencing the complexity of an exam. Therefore, they not only answer questions at the end a topic but also they design their own set of questions and attempt them. They do very well in group participation and are willing to work out any pending problems (Van Blerkom, 2009).
The other learning style for students is known as reading and writing preference. Students that employ this method learn best through reading text and writing down notes. They usually take elaborate notes during lectures and group discussions. They also use textbook margins to write down information for further reference. Alternatively, these types of learners will use a separate book to record their reading for future reference.
A certain student decided to assess his learning style by use of VARK model. After completion of the VARK questionnaire, the results indicated that he was a multimodal learner (Van Blerkom, 2009). He had visual, kinesthetic as well as reading and writing preferences. This implies that the student prefers use of visual aids while learning in addition to getting hands on experience on the topic being studied to enhance its comprehension (Staley & Staley, 2011). The results further indicated that the student likes taking notes for future reference.
Most of the people have multimodal learning styles which incorporates two or more learning styles. They may have their preferred learning styles but due to requirements from some assignments, a combination of various learning methods becomes more effective. For instance, a multimodal student can have visual as well as reading and writing inclinations. This implies that such a student will prefer a learning process that uses demonstrations, diagrams and flow-charts in addition to note taking. On the other hand, if a student has auditory as well as reading and writing preferences, the best ways to enhance their learning is to attend classes in addition to use of notes and handouts.
Proper identification and understanding of an individual learning style is very important in a number of ways. First, it allows the person to learn effectively and efficiently. It also helps the student to retain and memorize information better for future reference. Most of the time, students are not aware of their preferred learning styles until they take VARK analysis. Before doing a VARK analysis, a multimodal student might be using some of his learning preferences inefficiently. Therefore, when all the learning preferences are identified, the student will be able to incorporate all the styles to enable effective learning.
Most of the time, a student’s learning style may not match the one recommended by an instructor. In this case, the student should adjust to the teaching style of the lecturer by doing a number of things. For example, the students ought to translate the instructor’s preference to the styles they like so as to have greatest comfort during learning process.
Multimodal learners should identify the methods that they are strongest in. This implies that, they can make greater use of the method they are more comfortable in even as they incorporate other learning styles. VARK is an excellent method that helps students to understand the best ways in which their learning can be effective. This is an appropriate move for them to take maximum advantage of the expansive learning opportunities available in their schools.