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Understanding How Learners Learn Essay

There are many books and Internet websites written about the VARK Theory. It is the trainingfairy’s opinion that as adult trainers we are not always interested in the in-depth theory, you need to have an understanding and run with it. This page will hopefully provide you with this understanding and refer you to books and websites to explore this subject further if you wish to.

“I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.” (Confucius 551-479 BC) .This quote indicates that from the early ages people had different learning preferences. Read the VARK model below and determine what Confucius’ learning preference might have been.

VARK

Probably the easiest to understand and implement in your training programme. This theory is based on the FOUR main learning preferences your learners will have.

VISUAL- learners who would like to see it on the whiteboard, flip charts, walls, graphics, pictures, colour. They are probably your creative students, love using different colours in their workbooks, want to make their pages look pretty etc

AUDITORY-learners who would like to sit back and listen. They don’t make a lot of notes

READ/WRITE- learners who need to read the information for themselves and they take a lot of notes

KINESTHETIC-learners who can not sit still for long, like to fiddle with things. They like to be actively involved in their learning.

It is important that you understand your own learning preference as you will be delivering in that preference as well. If your preferred learning style is visual, you will deliver in a very visual way as that suits you, but does it suit your learners? When planning your session, check that your delivery techniques have covered all of the above preferences otherwise some students are missing out on learning opportunities.

Please note that the VARK model is also known as VAK however many educators prefer to have the R added to the model .

In the Revision section the need for repetition has been explained. On average you will need to repeat information that you want learners to retain at least 6 times. So if you cover all of the above learning preferences you automatically cover the same material 4 times already. Now have a look at your preferred learning preference and the way you deliver as a facilitator

Hopefully, you have identified yourself. Now of course it is possible that you are strong in more than ONE learning preference. This is called Multi Modal and your students can be multi modal as well. But now imagine that you have a very strong Kinesthetic preference and your class preference is 80% Read/Write. How do you think you feel if none of the students like to get involved in your practical delivery?

You probably call the students boring while the students dislike coming to your class because they have to do all these activities, while all they want to do is read the book and write an essay!If you have done the VARK test today, I encourage you to do it again in 6 months time. Most trainers preferences seem to shift as they learn to appreciate the other learning preferences, especially if you were very strong in just one, you will find as you start getting better at incorporating all 4 that you become more Multi Modal. Whatever you are, be assured there is no good or bad preference. It is an awareness that will help you with your delivery and ultimately your classroom management.

Training room application

From the above table you will find that one activity could cater for different learners at the same time.

The small group activity could be: read page 10-20, create a poster summarising the contents and present to the class .

Visual- create the poster- they probably do all the creative stuff, and want to use lots of colour

Auditory- need to listen as ideas are put forward as to what to put on the poster. Will listen to the presentation

Read/Write- will actually read the pages and feedback to the rest of the group. Will want to do the writing on the poster

Kinesthetic- will put the presentation together and want to make it fun Why when we are all the same species do we vary so much in the way we learn, and the way we respond to different types of teaching and communication methods?

Online resources:

What is synaesthesia
http://www.cerebromente.org.br/n17/mente/synaesthesia.htm

What the learner does is more important than what the teacher does. http://www.geoffpetty.com/style.html

Understanding how your learners learn, is your success.
http://www.trainingfairy.com/Classroom+delivery/VARK+Theory.html

Reith Lecture No. 4 – VS Ramachandran – Purple numbers and sharp cheese http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/reith2003/lecture4.shtml


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