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An Evaluation of Learning Styles: The Vark Method

Grand Canyon University: NRS-429V, Family-Centered Health Promotion

An Evaluation of Learning Styles: The Vark Method Possessing a multi-modal learning style (mm), aural (A) and kinesthetic, (K), offer the learner the flexibility to move from one to another depending on the topic and/or situation. While the aural element tacks to the appreciation of lectures and discussions, the kinesthetic is more focused on “the hands” method of learning. Toggling between aural and kinesthetic is challenging and fluid, but the rewards more than compensate for this diversity in learning styles.
In addition to the above learning styles, both the visual (V), and the read-write (R), scored fairly close to (A) and (K) styles. The (V) and the (R) methodology has been utilized as adjunct to the primary styles. Evaluating what is the most efficient and effective mode is the first and most crucial step. The mode needs to coincide with the topic and its complexity to be truly effective. A big plus, of course, is the ability to change the selected style and adapt the secondary style, which might prove more conducive to mastering the topic. Eccentric learning strategies are not typically commonplace, but are effective tools for the learning experience. Tactile stimulation is key to setting a foundation for the learning experience. The weight of the paper to be used must be heavier than most, a minimum of 24 lb. weight, with the utilization of a high quality gel pen that does not smudge or create inkblots. Listening to a speaker’s diction, pace of delivery and any trace of an accent create an intriguing environment in which to learn. These nuances are easily absorbed and lend clarity to the message. Radio talk shows are favored, as well as audio books and tapes.
Actively participating in discussion groups is also a vital tool that is often applied in an effort to “test” the comprehension of the information received.

The results of comparing the learner’s strategies with that of the VARK questionnaire come as no surprise. Because of the unconventional learning patterns, learning has been a struggle, The writer received early education on the sixties and attended college in the mid-late seventy’s. Individualism was not a focus, but classroom-book learning based on rote feedback was. Kinesthetic students learn through utilizing their senses. Although very few classes, 30 years ago, offered hands-on opportunities, most science classes offered labs, which were beneficial as a K learner. Whether dissecting a cat or cadaver the opportunity to learn through feeling, seeing and touching created an environment to gain information through alternative methods.

The scores for R, Read-write and V-visual, were both 3, which is somewhat surprising in that the preferred learning styles (aural, kinesthetic) have always taken precedence. Although the article “The nature of preference” Fleming (n.d.), states that the “ways in which he/she takes in and expresses their learning are difficult to modify or change” the challenge will be worth the effort. Evaluating weaknesses as delineated by VARK allows the opportunity to strengthen the weaker categories. Basically, the goal is to maximize your strengths and develop your weaknesses to a point where they too, become strengths. Adapting to the on-line learning environment requires an alteration in learning style priorities. Online education requires solid and developed writing skills, which are the only forms of communicating. By using the VARK Aural Study strategies the learner can incorporate various methods such as initiating a phone conversation about class subject matter can help with gathering others perspectives, as well as adding and expanding class notes. Getting familiar with classmates can certainly help improve the overall educational experience with varied learning.
Another listed suggestion is to read notes out loud or put notes into a summarized recording and listen to those note recordings. Other study techniques offered, this time for the kinesthetic learner, consist of reducing notes from 3:1, as well as use examples in notes.
Interactions with fellow classmates can certainly the overall educational experience. This interaction establishes a not threatening forum, which allows for the free flow of ideas and opinions; along with an active Q & A. A direct result of this communicating is the development of self confidence engendered by receiving positive feedback. Teaching others what you have learned is the true metric for assessing ones comprehension of a topic. Overall, the project has been an evaluable tool for assessing educational learning strategies. There is a plethora of enhanced learning opportunities for neonatal, pediatric and maternal educational programs that are created through evidence-based practice, from the Pediatric Outreach Program at Methodist Children’s Hospital. This program is managed through the writer.

References
Fleming, N. (1995). I’m different; not dumb. Modes of presentation (VARK) in the tertiary classroom. Research and Development in Higher Education, Proceedings of the 1995 Annual Conference of the Higher Education and Research Development Society of Australasia (HERDSA), HERDSA, Volume 18, pp. (308-313). Retrieved from www.vark-learn.com/english/page.asp?p=articles

Fleming, N., & Baume, D. (2006). Learning styles again: Varking up the wrong tree! Educational Developments, SEDA, Ltd., 4(7), 4-7. Retrieved from www.vark-learn.com

Fleming, N. “n.d.”. The nature of preference. Retrieved from www.vark-learn.com.

Fleming, N. “n.d.” The VARK Questionaire [Database record]. Retrieved from. www.vark-learn.com

Fleming, N. “n.d.” The VARK a guide to learning style, Aural Study Strategies. Retrieved from www.vark-learn.com.

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