The VARK (visual, aural, read/write, kinesthetic) questionnaire is a guide to learning styles, an assessment of how one learns best. It was designed by Neil Fleming in 1987. It is a sixteen question assessment that provides those who take it with a specific profile of their learning style or styles including a score. There are four scores that can give a person up to five study strategies: multimodal, visual, aural, read/write, and kinesthetic. (Fleming, 2011 FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)). A person’s preferred modality may be a combination of two or more types which is called multimodal (Fleming, 2011 FAQs). After the scores are tallied, it will tell the person where they fall within the five study strategies. VARK provides an analysis of each person’s results by identifying the preferred modality and one of the five listed above (Fleming, 2011 Help sheets). A person’s preferred modality may be a combination of two or more types which is called multimodal, the most common at around 60% (Fleming, 2011 FAQs).
This paper will discuss this nurse’s results of the VARK questionnaire, preferred learning styles compared with the learning styles identified, and changes that will be made to improve one’s study habits. The VARK analysis of this nurse’s answers identified this nurse as multimodal with a strong emphasis in kinesthetic and read/write. Fleming stated that those who are multifocal in their preference can be more flexible of how one takes in and gives out information (Fleming, 2011 FAQs). However, multimodal persons may need sensory input and outflow through two, three, or all four modes before one is satisfied that they have learned the material or understand it (Fleming, 2011 FAQs). This nurse is not surprised by the results as she has the tendency to use the kinesthetic and read/write modalities in most ways that she learns.
She scored highest in kinestethics and agrees that doing things ‘hands on’ provides this nurse to better understand what she is learning or attempting to do. For instance, during clinical rotations this nurse adapted better to certain situations after doing them and also with procedures like inserting catheters. This nurse excels well overlapping the two by using hands on approach and visual aids as well as dictionaries, textbooks, and handouts. The two modalities that were listed in this nurse’s questionnaire that resulted in third and fourth, in a tie, were visual and aural. This nurse showed some preference for the visual modality because, pictures graphs, and different colors grab this nurses attention and make it easier to remember what is being taught. She also utilizes the aural by engaging in discussions with classmates and talking out a subject or problem helps her to better understand. When comparing this nurse’s preferred learning styles to the styles identified she was not that surprised.
This nurse’s preferred learning style is kinesthetics and visual. She is captured at the fact that visual was not at the top of the list. That kinestethics was listed highest in her results and found it odd that to learn best from ‘doing’ that the visual modality would go hand in hand. This nurse scored in all four modalities making her useful and adaptive in learning different situations. However, in some cases, this nurse feels there is room for error when using the aural modality. She feels that pertinent knowledge should be learned and understood not repeated in one’s head or read aloud over and over again. Also with read/write that writing paragraphs and reading notes over and over again just leads to memorization and in this nurses field of study one should understand and gain knowledge not memorize material that could be later tested on as a broader subject.
After reviewing the learning strategies, some changed are needed to improve learning abilities for this nurse. Some changes this nurse will make to improve her study habits are to incorporate more diagrams, books, incorporate the use of a tape recorder when brain storming ideas, and describing information to someone who is not familiar with what she is learning. Learning style information can also benefit this nurse directly as she learns more about herself and acquire knowledge of general learning theory (Breckler, 2009). By adding more strategies, this nurse will improve her study habits, educations, and improve grades and feel more satisfied about her work and studies. A study published by the Journal of Further Higher Education reports that those individuals who participated showed actual improvement in their studies and received higher grades than usual (Rogers, 2009, p.19).
In conclusion this learning tool helps one understand their best learning style. By using the tools specifically designed for an individual it will help improve learning and understanding in a variety of subjects. This nurse has been identified as a multifocal learner with a strong kinesthetic learning preference. VARK has also pointed out other modalities that need to be used to reinforce her study habits.