VARK learning Styles
The acronym “VARK” is used to characterize four modes of student learning. These distinct learning styles are visual, auditory, reading/writing, and kinesthetic. They were established after thousands of hours of classroom research. The authors have developed an associated assessment for educators to help students recognize and appreciate their own learning interests.
Students that better internalize and synthesize knowledge when depicted in a graphic representation of meaningful symbols are identified as visual learners. They can respond to arrows, maps, diagrams and other visualizations of the knowledge hierarchy, but not generally to photographs or videos.
Since visual learners tend to be cohesive learners who process knowledge better when presented to them as a robust whole rather than a piecemeal one, they tend to see positive educational results when faced with overview charts and diagrams rather than sequential information slides
The auditory (or aural) learners are more effective when they are given the ability to hear information conveyed to them by speech. Since students with this learning style may often prefer not to take notes during class in order to preserve their unbroken auditory focus, educators may mistakenly infer that they are less committed than their classmates.
Nevertheless, these students may have actually determined that note-taking is a diversion and that their unbroken concentration helps them to study.
Reading / Writing Learners
Students who perform well in the reading/writing mode show a clear learning affinity for the written word. This involves both the written material provided in class in the form of handouts and PowerPoint slide shows, as well as the ability to synthesize the substance of the course in the completion of written assignments. This modality also lends itself to online analysis since many information-rich sites on the Internet are relatively text-intensive.
Reading/writing-oriented students should be expected to take a variety of notes during classroom lectures to help them digest information and make it easier for them to remember it later.
Kinesthetic learners are hands-on, participatory learners who need to play a physically involved role in the learning process to attain their best educational outcomes. They are often referred to as “tactile learners,” but this may be a bit of a misnomer; rather than merely using touch, kinesthetic learners prefer to involve all their senses similarly whilst learning.
Owing to their active nature, kinesthetic learners often have the most difficult time to excel in traditional classroom environments. Some educators have found success in enabling kinesthetic learners to use flashcards for subjects such as math and English to transform rote memorization into an immersive experience.
Hybrid learners could fall into one of the few groups. Students can attempt to write and take notes, and this falls into the category of reading and writing learners. However, they can also draw and doodle ideas on their notes in order to encourage the interpretation of complicated topics. Hybrid strategies are likely to perform well when they use multiple senses to learn.
Even if students excel in different learning styles does not generally mean that they should be engaged with more than one frequently. Although today’s media-rich world has made multimodal learning simpler than ever before, recent research indicate some caution and care when incorporating digital instructional design into the classroom.