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Learning Style SummaryUpon using the VARK questionnaire, my scores indicated that I am a multimodal learner: Visual 13, Aural 11, Read/Write 15, Kinesthetic 12. This indicates that I do not have a specific learning style that stands out from the others. Multimodal learners tend to use a combination of modalities based on what is being taught. (VARK Multimodal Strategies, 2015)
Learning styles can be very different for each individual student. In 1987, Neil Fleming designed a learning assessment tool for learners called VARK.
VARK is an acronym that is made up of four distinct learning styles. It is a key approach to increase the quality of the learning process and the quality of teaching. VARK stands for (V) visual, (A) aural, (R) read/write, and (K) kinesthetic. The visual aspect of VARK would include flow charts, maps, diagrams, etc. It does not, however, include things such as movies, still pictures, or PowerPoints. (VARK: Visual Strategies, 2019) The aural aspect of VARK would include things such as group discussions, web-chats, and lectures.
Although email would usually be included in the read/write category, it can also be used here due to it being in a chat-style format. (VARK: Aural Strategies, 2019) The read/write aspect of VARK includes text-based modalities such as reports, essays, manuals, lists, dictionaries, and such. (VARK: Read/Write Strategies, 2019) The kinesthetic aspect of VARK is the actual physically “doing” to obtain personal experiences through demonstration. The topics must be reality-based. (VARK: Kinesthetic Strategies, 2019) (H.
Karim, J. Khajavikhan, M. Nahal, H. Peyman, m. Rasool, J. Sadeghifar, Y. Yaghoubi, M. Yasemi, Aug 2014)
There is also a multimodality (MM) where there is more than one mode being used in a student’s learning. Upon taking the VARK questionnaire I learned I am in the multimodal category. Not having heard of VARK before, I was excited to learn that there are ways to figure out your individual learning style, as it will help tremendously in one’s studies.
My preferred learning style has always been read/write. I take a lot of notes and read a lot for research. In some lectures, I will record the lecture, then later listen to it and write notes from it. I also use a highlighter in textbooks and flashcards to study with. I can see how I am a multimodal learner though because I do have to hear things, see pictures that correlate with lectures, and if I am physically doing something, that in itself will help in any learning process for me, but above all else, read/write works best for me.
The battle between how to teach and how to learn between instructor and student has been an issue since the beginning of time and doesn’t end in the classroom. By providing students with tools in their early years, teachers are preparing them for their futures. Figuring out early how a child learns will best affect their learning abilities in topics they are being taught and how well they participate in class. These learned efforts will follow them through their lives and help them significantly with their study habits. (L. Elrick, 2018)
As children continue to learn and develop these different learning styles and begin to learn how to incorporate them into their work, they are being taught how to learn for their futures. As they continue with their education, these skills will help them tremendously and will help them to stay excited, engaged, and ready to learn. (Concordia University, 2018)
Teaching strategies for visual learners are to include visual aids to support their instruction, advocate for note-taking, seat these learners close to the front of the class, and use colors. Learning strategies for these learners are to visualize words in their minds and then repeat them to themselves, or to recopy their notes, several times if necessary.
Teaching strategies for aural learners is to not be monotonous and use expression when instructing. Encourage students to repeat information they feel is important and seat them away from things/people that are distracting. Learning strategies for these learners is to try teaching the information to someone else, study out loud with others, and repeat words in their minds.
Teaching strategies for read/write learners is to encourage them to take a lot of notes, make lists, or make diagrams. Learning strategies are to take notes and rewrite them, use bullet-point lists, and read textbooks.
Teaching strategies for kinesthetic learners is to maybe incorporate role-play and use models or other objects for visual aids. Learning strategies for these learners, due to their need for movement, have them pace back and forth while studying, draw the information if possible, and to make sure they have plenty of breaks to get up and move about. (The Study Gurus, 2015) (Administrate, 2013)
It is mostly our responsibility as nurses to educate patients to help them become responsible for themselves and to take a proactive role in their own health. They need to be able to understand their health conditions and comprehend the treatment modalities for those conditions. As educators for these patients, we need to stimulate their interest. To begin with this, we need to establish a rapport with them and encourage them to ask questions. Next, let’s figure out their learning style. Maybe the patient learns best by reading a handout, watching a DVD, or by physically holding a model of a heart or physically having a new mother hold her baby a certain way to nurse. Educational resources via technology is also a good way to promote education to your patient, making sure they understand what is in front of them and how to navigate through it. (Walters Kluwer, 2017)
Learning styles are different for everyone. The VARK learning model is an effective tool to learn individual styles to help create a practical and productive learning environment. Education not only aids us as nurses in helping our patients, but it also helps us to give guidance and support to patients, families, and our communities.
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