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VARK Analysis Paper  

Learning styles represent the different approaches to learning based on preferences, weaknesses, and strengths. For learners to best achieve the desired educational outcome, learning styles must be considered when creating a plan. Complete “The VARK Questionnaire,” located on the VARK website, and then complete the following:

  1. Click “OK” to receive your questionnaire scores.
  2. Once you have determined your preferred learning style, review the corresponding link to view your learning preference.
  3. Review the other learning styles: visual, aural, read/write, kinesthetic, and multimodal (listed on the VARK Questionnaire Results page).
  4. Compare your current preferred learning strategies to the identified strategies for your preferred learning style.
  5. Examine how awareness of learning styles has influenced your perceptions of teaching and learning.

In a paper (750‐1,000 words), summarize your analysis of this exercise and discuss the overall value of learning styles. Include the following:

  1. Provide a summary of your learning style according the VARK questionnaire.
  2. Describe your preferred learning strategies. Compare your current preferred learning strategies to the identified strategies for your preferred learning style.
  3. Describe how individual learning styles affect the degree to which a learner can understand or perform educational activities. Discuss the importance of an educator identifying individual learning styles and preferences when working with learners.
  4. Discuss why understanding the learning styles of individuals participating in health promotion is important to achieving the desired outcome. How do learning styles ultimately affect the possibility for a behavioral change? How would different learning styles be accommodated in health promotion?

Cite to at least three peer‐reviewed or scholarly sources to complete this assignment. Sources should be published within the last 5 years and appropriate for the assignment criteria

The result for my VARK is the learning style of the “R” which is meant (read/ write).

People with a strong reading and writing preference for learning like list, note and text in all its formats and whether in print or online.

People with a Read/Write preference prefer:

  • to write and read. They like words that have interesting meanings and backgrounds.
  • to use lists (a, b, c, d, and 1, 2, 3, 4) and to order things into categories.
  • to arrange words into hierarchies and points; order and structure in anything presented
  • extracting meanings from headings and titles
  • correcting mistakes
  • clarity in what has been written
  • challenging rules and regulations because of their wording
  • people who write or speak using challenging words

To take in information:

  • use lists (like this one!)
  • use titles and headings that clearly explain what follows
  • use bullet points and numbered paragraphs
  • use dictionaries and glossaries, articles about trends in word usage
  • spell-check; correct written language errors
  • read handouts
  • read books that are dense with text, essays, manuals, reading lists
  • use definitions, constitutions, legal documents, minutes and rules
  • write notes (often verbatim)
  • get information from people who use words well and have lots of information in their sentences
  • as you listen, sort out what they are saying into your own categories and lists

To present information to others:

  • Order things into priorities of importance, or categories, or schemas…
  • Contribute in print to a variety of print media
  • Rewrite any ideas and principles in your own words
  • Be aware that others may not have a Read/Write preference like you, so respect their differences.

In education:

  • Convert your “notes” into a learnable package by reducing them from three pages down to one page.
  • Write out the words again and again.
  • Read your notes (silently) again and again.
  • Do any “extra” suggested reading
  • Organize any diagrams, graphs … into statements, e.g. “This graph shows that the trend is…”
  • Use a digital device to arrange your ideas and to “try” different words.
  • Imagine your lists arranged in multiple choice questions and distinguish each from each.

In the workplace:

  • Use SWOT analyses showing Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.
  • Use Risk analyses
  • Strategic and management plans e.g. management by objectives (MBO), especially written ones.
  • Write out your words for others to read, use handouts, noticeboards, and post-its.
  • Read carefully what others have written
  • Watch and read new material appearing on noticeboards – in the workplace, office, and online.
  • Have current business news running on your computer
  • Quote from business magazines and journals
  • Write lists of tasks and carefully record important print information.
  • Find out the preferences of others and deliver in their preferred modes.
  •  

VARK provides students with an indication of their preferences for learning and as such it will indicate stronger and weaker preferences. It would be wonderful if students could explore their weaker preferences and enhance them by using all the VARK strategies associated with them. A student with a strong Read/Write preference might learn to use Visualstrategies for note-taking or expressing his/her learning. Or, a student with a strong Visual preference might attend a course to assist with Kinesthetic ways of taking information in or for expressing it. Indeed, there are a number of such courses available in most communities. For example, there are usually seminars and workshops for developing mind-mapping skills or creative writing or improving reading comprehension or accelerated learning.

  • But there is at least one point on which students and faculty differ. For most students there are stressful tests and examinations where they are expected to indicate how much they have learned. For faculty there are fewer stress times in their lives because of their prior experience and learning. This has a significant effect on whether VARK can be used for the development of new skills or the reinforcement of older ones. While some students seek opportunities to learn new strategies at every opportunity that is not general. Many students in higher education are at critical points in their search for employment, or partners, or self-esteem, and they often cling to the strategies and preferences that they have, rather than extending themselves into unknown areas. For them it is often a matter of staying with what they know best, despite some professors urging them, to expand their repertoire.
  • The Absence of a Visual Preference (An example from the text in the book).
  • So your results show an absence (a zero score) on the Visual (V) preference dimension!
  • “You may have some distrust of graphs and diagrams and anything that relies on symbolism. You don’t always share the same meaning of these symbols as others do. An arrow representing a flow may mean something quite different to you. The placement of words on a page has little added meaning and things like layout and style are not as important as they are to some others. You may have difficulty understanding why others place so much importance on trivial things like fonts and formats and layouts. You probably get lost trying to find your way to other places and you may have little memory for the surroundings in a room, an auditorium or a house. You might prefer not to use a map to find your way. Remembering what people wear or what they look like is probably not a strong point for you. Who cares about merely pictures! 
  • Just because it is on a screen does not make something suitable for a student with a Visual preference.

A Brief Overview of VARK and its Development. VARK is an acronym made from the initial letters of Visual, Aural, Read/Write and Kinesthetic. These four communication modes are used in learning. Learners use them when they are taking in or giving out information. They have preferences for some modes and not for others. For example, some learners prefer to ‘read about it’ others to talk or draw or experience their learning. Some have no strong preferences for any single communication mode. They may be indifferent to which method they use to express their learning – they are multimodal in their preferences. This book is about identifying preferences and using them to be successful learners. It will provide strategies that align with your preferences and it will encourage you to play to your strengths. Although we have known for centuries about different communication modes, the VARK package, initially developed in 1987 by Neil Fleming, was the first to systematically present a modal preferences questionnaire with VARK Help sheets for learners, teachers, employers, trainers, employees and others to use when communicating. It also sought to be advisory rather than diagnostic or predictive. A brief inventory (16 questions) is another advantage because it reduces “survey burnout and fatigue”! Many researchers had focused on visual, aural and kinesthetic characteristics (V, A and K), but Fleming subdivided the visual mode into two parts; visual (iconic) and text (symbolic), creating four possibilities for modality preferences. A fifth category was added to cater for the 55% – 60% of respondents who have multiple preferences (multimodal). The VARK materials are widely used in educational and business institutions and have received high acclaim for their powerful simplicity, their ability to spark discussion about learning and the fact that VARK makes intuitive good sense. The questionnaire is now in over 30 languages. The first VARK questionnaire was designed in 1987. Version 2.0 was launched in January 1998 with the assistance and insights of Dr. Charles Bonwell, then at St Louis College of Pharmacy, Missouri, USA. The questionnaire has been altered since and, after major reviews in 2006, 2009 and 2013. This major revision in 2019 has produced Version 8.0. “It does seem, then, that teachers may unconsciously try to push their pupils into their own mode of thinking, once again a result of people’s inability to appreciate the radical ways that pupils think.” S.V. Thompson (1990) in Visual Imagery. People benefit from knowing about their individualized ways of learning. Even the exercise of reflecting about learning (metacognition) is a useful technique for improving our communication. VARK is a tool for any learning task. It is as helpful in running a business as it is for studying at a college or university or coaching a team or an athlete. One of its side benefits is that it is a catalyst for conversations between coaches and mentors, learners and learners; teachers and teachers; and trainers and their clients.

The citation for the initial research paper that launched VARK is: Fleming, N. D. and Mills, C. (1992), Not Another Inventory, Rather a Catalyst for Reflection From To Improve the Academy, Vol. 11, 1992. page 137.

WHAT IS VARK? WHAT ARE LEARNING STYLES? Firstly, VARK is not a learning style. The term learning styles is frequently used in businesses, schools, universities and colleges and there are a variety of books about them. A learning style refers to an individual’s preferred ways of gathering, organizing, and thinking about information1 . There are various authors who have written about different types or categories within the field of learning styles.2 A learning style is an amalgam of preferences and VARK is not a learning style because it is only one of the preferences that make up a learning style. VARK is the part that deals with perceptual modes, which means that it is focused on the different ways that learners take in and give out or express information. Learners have different learning styles, they learn in different ways and one preference in a learning style is the preferences for the intake and the output of ideas and information. No learner or teacher is restricted to only one mode for communication intake or output. Even so, it is interesting to note that there are some dominant preferences and some voids (zero scores for a preference) among different people. Some exhibit not only a strong preference for one particular mode but also relative weaknesses in other modes. For taking in our environment we use our senses – sight, hearing, taste, touch and smell. In academic learning we usually use our sight, our speech and our hearing (Visual, Aural and Read./write) with less importance placed on taste, touch and smell. Some learners like to use all their senses at once by experiencing their learning and this uses their Kinesthetic preferences. The power of VARK is that learners, understand it intuitively and it seems to fit best practices. It provides a useful way, therefore, to begin our discussion with the four VARK modality preferences shown in italics above. WHY VARK? The acronym VARK stands for Visual, Aural, Read/Write, and Kinesthetic. These are the sensory modalities that are used for learning any information. When we are training, teaching, coaching or mentoring these four categories seem to reflect the experiences of our learners. Although there is some overlap between them, for the purposes of this book, they are defined as follows. But, before reading about the definitions, keep in mind that there will be combinations of these. So a learner may have a preference for using Visual and Read/Write (V and R), or Aural and Kinethetic (A and K) or all four (V, A, R and K). All the possible combinations of V, A, R and K are part of having Multimodal preferences. Visual (V): This preference includes the depiction of information in charts, graphs, flow charts, and all the symbolic arrows, circles, hierarchies and other devices that are used to represent what might have been presented in words. Layout, whitespace, headings, patterns, designs and color are important in establishing meaning. Learners with a strong Visual preference are more aware of their immediate environment and their place in space. It does not include pictures, movies, videos and animated websites (simulation). They belong with Kinesthetic, defined below. Aural (A): This perceptual mode describes a preference for information that is spoken or heard. Learners with this modality report that they learn best from discussion, oral feedback, asking questions, email, mobile chat, texting, discussion boards, oral presentations, classes, tutorials, and talking with others. Read/Write (R): This preference is for information displayed as words, either read or written. Typically it means those who prefer books and handouts – anything with text. Not surprisingly, many academics and high-achieving learners have a strong preference for this modality. These learners place importance on precision in language and are keen to use quotes, lists, texts, books, brochures, handouts and manuals. They have a strong reverence for words. Kinesthetic (K): By definition, this modality refers to the “perceptual preference related to the use of experience and practice (simulated or real).” Although such an experience may use other modalities, the key part of any definition is that the learner is connected to reality, “either through experience, example, practice or simulation,” It is often referred to as 1 Davis, 1993, p. 185 2 Murrell and Claxton (1987) categorized learning styles into four groups: models that focus on 1) personality characteristics (e.g., extrovert v. introvert); 2) information processing (e.g., a holistic v. a sequential approach); 3) social interaction, how students behave and interact in the classroom e.g., learning oriented v. grade oriented); and 4) instructional preference, the medium in which learning occurs (e.g., graphic representation, listening, reading, or direct experience). VARK is clearly an example of the instructional preference category

How Do I Learn Best? “learning by doing” but that is an oversimplification especially for higher levels of learning which are often abstract and sometimes difficult or dangerous or slow. Such learning can still be made accessible for learners with a Kinesthetic VARK preference. This mode uses many senses (sight, touch, taste and smell) to take in their environment and to experience and learn new things. Some theorists believe that movement is important for this mode, but it is the reality of the situation that appeals most. Before you read any further you should complete the 16 questions below. It is not a test, but it will make more sense of what you are about to read. There are some instructions at the top of the questionnaire. Not everybody reads them. The most important instruction is that you may choose more than one answer to any of the questions. It may be somewhat more interesting to later limit yourself to one answer per question or maybe two, but that is your choice. Please fill in the questionnaire even if you have filled it in before. Just one more time! If you prefer to complete the questionnaire online go to www.vark-learn.com get your four scores and find out your VARK learning preference. 3 The VARK questionnaire indicates your preferences for the way you work with information. When you have completed the questionnaire, you should fill in the boxes on page 4 and record your profile of preferences.

A Brief Biography of Neil Fleming Neil D Fleming is first and foremost a teacher. He has taught in universities, teacher education centers and high schools. Before working for eleven years in faculty development at Lincoln University, he was for nine years a senior inspector for the 105 high schools in the South Island of New Zealand. This involved being a critical observer of over 9000 ‘lessons’ in classrooms. His task in those years involved observing teachers and learners and writing a report for the college or high school about the effectiveness of the teaching by its impact on learning. He developed a healthy respect for the different ways in which learners learned and teachers taught. He re-established a faculty development center (1987-98) and developed an ambitious web-based learning project and a strategic plan for information technology at Lincoln University, New Zealand. In this work he encouraged teachers to respond to the diversity of learning styles among their learners. He also worked closely to improve learners’ strategies for academic success as well as teaching regular classes in communication and extension. Neil has written best-selling educational textbooks on Consumer Education and Economics and with Dr. Charles Bonwell developed the VARK questionnaire and support materials that can be viewed interactively at www.varklearn.com. One of his books applies the VARK principles to athletics and sports and is titled Sports Coaching and Learning. Another applies VARK principles and best practice to the world of business. Neil has presented active, participatory workshops at major conferences in the UK, USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, Turkey, Thailand, India, Malaysia and Brunei on such topics as assessment and evaluation, curriculum redesign, marking and grading, learning styles and shifting the campus focus from teaching to learning. As a scholar with an international perspective, his writing can be found in key faculty development journals in Britain, North America and Australasia. He has undertaken educational consultancies in Samoa, Fiji, Tonga, the Cook Islands and Papua New Guinea. Today, Neil, in semi retirement, tends to his very active website and has a regular seat as a lay member of the Ethics Committee for Education Research at the University of Canterbury. He is an active volunteer for his local primary school and for a health provider and he has a beehive and makes solid-wood furniture as hobbies. A Brief Biography of CHUCK BONWELL Charles C. Bonwell has been engaged in the scholarship of teaching for over twenty years. A former Professor of History, he has facilitated workshops nationally and internationally for faculty and teaching assistants on active learning and critical thinking, and has given the keynote address at numerous regional, national, and international conferences. In 1986 Bonwell was one of 50 faculty honored by the American Association of Higher Education and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching for his “outstanding educational leadership.” He is co-author, with James Eison, of the best-selling ASHE-ERIC monograph Active Learning: Creating Excitement in the Classroom (1991). In 1996, Jossey-Bass published Using Active Learning in College Classrooms:

 
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