The VARK guide to learning styles
18th March 2014
Rightly or wrongly we tend to stick to the same tried and tested learning method. But what if you could understand different techniques and know which VARK learning style or styles are best suited to your personality, rather than learning the way you have been taught.
The VARK guide to learning styles is one of the major learning techniques used today throughout the world to encourage people to discover their greatest practice for learning. The VARK theory of learning preferences separates learners into four categories that define their best method of learning:
V – Visual
A – Aural/Auditory
R – Read/Write
K – Kinaesthetic
V – Visual Learners
People who learn best by the Visual technique are not good with written text however easily understand and make sense of images, graphs, charts, videos and other learning materials within this quota. Visual learners are also inclined to create their own pictures or diagrams in order to convey their own thoughts, designs and/or perceptions to ensure that they understand and also to describe to others. In order to get the most out of the Visual learning technique, learners should use images that relate to different ideas. Mind-maps are also a very helpful way to convey your thought process and how you are taking the information in. Graphs showing useful data would help you gain a clearer awareness when examining a lot of information. Contents like images, interactive video, animations, 3d models are perfect for visual learners.
A – Aural Learners
Auditory learners learn best by taking in information from what they hear. The best practice for this is face to face discussions. This can either take place on a one on one basis or in a discussion group. Auditory learners are often much slower at reading and often take poor quality notes. They listen intently to what is being said rather than spending their time taking notes. They take information by relaying the information out loud to ensure it sinks in. Podcasts, lectures, and radios are all great ways to enhance the learning profitability for Auditory learners. Being able to hear and repeat the information enables the learner to retain the gained knowledge. Aural learners might prefer traditional, face-to-face training over online training modules - blended learning solutions represent a chance to exploit the benefits of eLearning even in a classroom environment.
R – Read/Write Learners
Read/Write learners are extremely comfortable with the information that is accessible in a textual layout. Booklets, leaflets, manuals, etc. all appeal to these types of learners. Their notes are often in a word for word basis and in great detail to ensure they are capturing all relevant information. Apart from taking notes, the resources for Read/Write learners are endless. With the use of the internet, they can access different forms of text content to enhance their learning capabilities. Essays, articles, blogs, etc. can all be easily accessible for these types of learners. Also, libraries, etc. can be very useful to Read/Write learners, and for them, the documents distributed through an LMS with document distribution capability can be invaluable. Reading back over notes that have been written are is very beneficial to the learner as this enables them to recall the content quickly.
K – Kinaesthetic Learners
Learners who absorb more by carrying out specific tasks are Kinaesthetic learners. Kinaesthetic learners have a much more hands-on approach to learning as they benefit from assessing the material for themselves. They need to be stimulated by completing the work or they run the risk of becoming uninterested - they might, for example, enjoy gamified eLearning modules, where interaction is fundamental. Although they are keen to take part and carry out the task they also take notes. These notes are not in great detail however they are usually in a language that they can easily understand i.e. bullet points, one word, phrases, etc. as opposed to writing notes in sentences or quoting information. To get the best out of this learning technique the learner should, where possible, get involved. As long as the relevance of the task is understood by the learner, they are more likely to stay involved and be engaged.
Although there may be a strong preference for one of the learning techniques it’s also possible that there can be a combination of more than two learning techniques. Multiple learning preferences are interesting and varied and finding the best method to manage them can be lead to the learner experiencing an exceptionally high quality of learning. Some may have high allegiances to one particular technique, some may have none and are averaged across the board. It is helpful to understand the best way you learn and to also design a method that best suits your style of learning. Incorporating different types of learning techniques enhance and improve your learning potential. For example, if you are a mixture of Auditory, Read/Write and Kinesthetic techniques you can create a process that means you cover all areas i.e. listen to podcasts, read instructions and then try the task for yourself.
Online training can adapt well to all the VARK techniques and here at Sponge, we are just the people to speak to. Sponge can design modules for all employees, regardless of level, to ensure the information is being relayed to them in a one-stop, easy-to-understand course. By using our knowledge and research we are able to connect with each employee to ensure they are receiving the most beneficial modules - and deliver all of these modules in a single, modern platform: our cloud based Learning Management System (LMS).