Are you a university student feeling overwhelmed by all the different types of resources to help you study?
It won’t be surprising to learn you are not alone! Note-taking, online tools, and sometimes endless cycles of trying out new strategies without ever really finding something that works for you!
That’s where VARK (Visual-Aural-Read/Write-Kinesthetic) might be able to help.
As a seasoned ex-uni student, with over 10 years of hands-on-experience, I've definately taken a VARK questionnaire to find out my learning style and it came as no surprise to me that I am a visual learner.
In my helpful blog post, I’ll help you discover more at what VARK is, and crucially, how you can use it to level up your study style.
I’ll cover this evidence-based learning style model in more detail to help you discover which one works best for you!
This post is all about VARK Learning Styles.
VARK LEARNING STYLES
So before we get into the details, let’s start with the mini answer.
Understanding your VARK learning style can help you maximize your learning experience and study more efficiently. Visual learners prefer pictures and diagrams, read/writing learners prefer reading and writing, auditory learners prefer hearing information
and kinesthetic learners prefer physical movement and hands-on methods of understanding information
So now we’ve got the takeaway in place, let’s head straight in and explore what VARK is and why it can help you level up your study game!
What is VARK?
In a nutshell, The VARK learning style are modes of learning that categorizes different learning styles into four main types of learners:
The acronym VARK represents each of these four styles.
The whole premise behind the VARK model of learning is that everyone learns in different ways depending on their own particular strengths in one or more of the four categories.
So you might prefer mainly to take notes but also gravitate towards graphs and tables when studying. So here you would be a mix of both Visual and Reading/Writing, for example.
Where did VARK come from?
The VARK learning/ teaching style model was developed in the 90s by Neil D. Fleming, a teacher at Lincoln University in New Zealand.
His idea to create a framework for each particular learning style was based on previous research by researchers such as David Kolb.
By referring to this earlier work, Neil Fleming developed the VARK system/ model, which aimed to identify how students can benefit from utilising their strengths in different types of learning styles.
It has since gone on to be used as a template by other scholars and has been the subject matter of many other studies.
Why do I need to understand my learning style?
Understanding your VARK learning style can help you maximize your learning process/ experience and study more efficiently.
Knowing which methods work for you can help save time and allow you to focus on what works best without wasting time and energy on methods that are less effective.
You can create study guides customized to your personal learning preferences and study in a way that works best for you.
So let’s find out more about each learners individual learning styles to find out what kind of learner you are:
1. Visual Learning Style
Are you the kind of person who learns best through pictures and diagrams? If so, you're probably a visual learner!
Examples of visual learning might include using flowcharts or creating mind maps to connect related ideas.
Visual learners also generally respond to visual materials, colour coding and are great at organizing information in the best way that makes sense to their way of study.
- Group Study Sessions: Visual learners often benefit from group study sessions. Try to study with classmates who learn in a similar visual way as you, and brainstorm visual study strategies/ techniques together. Collaborate, have group discussions, and create visual aids for each other. Stay digital and use collaborative software such as Google Docs, Powerpoint presentations or use poster boards to keep all group ideas and representations in one physical space.
- Watch Video Tutorials: Visual demonstrations can make it easier to understand more abstract concepts. You can even try creating your own video tutorials to explain more challenging concepts to your fellow students.
- Youtube and other online video-sharing platforms have become an academic goldmine. Video tutorials can be incredibly helpful visual learning appeals/ tools, especially for subjects like science, art class, maths and history.
There are so many ways to level up your study game using great visuals! So experiment to find the best approach for you.
Relates Article: Top Tips on How to Take Notes at University and Ace Your Final Exams
2. Auditory Learning Style
It’s no surprise to discover that auditory learners prefer to hear information!
They are usually great listeners and can easily remember things that are explained to them clearly or repeated.
So it could be that if someone verbally explains a new concept to you, you'll grasp it much more quickly than if you tried to read it yourself. You may even respond better to someone telling you how to do something rather than if you attempted to follow written instructions.
Here are some ways you can incorporate your personal learning style into your study routine.
- Record Lectures: Try recording your lectures on your tablet, phone, or laptop. You can save the lecturer’s audio in different formats, like MP3, or even transcribe the audio to text and use it for further reference. Then play back the lecture during your study periods to help clarify any concepts you might have missed the first time around.
- Use Memory Techniques: One of the great things about auditory learning is that you can exploit your spider skill of mimicking sounds! So If you are trying to memorise text, names or numbers, for example, try recording yourself speaking the content, then okay it back several times until you are sure of it. You could also try putting the content into a song, poem, or rhyme. These study techniques are great for student performance.
- Audio Resources: Audio content is a fantastic way to learn new concepts if you feel a love for auditory-style learning. There’s a huge range of audio resources online, from free podcasts to audiobooks. For instance, if you are studying science, for example, you can download science-based podcasts to your phone or computer, and listen to them while working out, or even commuting to your lectures.
3. Read Write Learning Style
The read and write learning style, simply the clue is in the title! It essentially means that learners prefer to read and write when studying.
This can cover things such as articles, textbooks, manuals, and writing notes to help reinforce the course material.
If you prefer a read-write learning style here are some of my best helpful tips to help you smash your study goals!
- Write down keywords: Writing down key points makes it easier to organize your thoughts for later. Also jotting down keywords while reading will help you more easily retain the information.
- Skim first, then read for comprehension: For those with the read-and-write learning style, it is best to scan a document first. This step will help you summarize the main ideas and gather your thoughts before delving deeper
- Take effective notes: It's essential to write down organized notes to recall information. Underline important ideas, use bullet points or summarize paragraphs.
- Practice writing: Writing purposefully and creatively will help you drill down into your writing and comprehension skills. You could try setting aside half an hour each day to write poetry, music lyrics or journal entries to help develop your writing skills further.
4. Kinesthetic Learning Style
Do you ever feel you feel the need to get up and move around while studying or in a lecture? Or simply zone out when ploughing through a textbook? If so, you might prefer learning in a kinesthetic style.
Those who gravitate towards this type of learning roll with touching and manipulating objects, prefer physical movement and other hands-on methods of understanding information.
It could be that you are the type of student who enjoys activities such as solving puzzles, building things, or taking part.
Here are some ways you can tailor your study to your own learning preferences and style.
- Use flashcards: Instead of just reading your notes or study materials, make flashcards with key concepts, definitions, or formulas. You can shuffle and rearrange them to reinforce your memory while using your hands.
- Draw diagrams: If you're studying a complex system or process, try drawing diagrams or flowcharts on a whiteboard or a sheet of paper. Seeing and creating the visuals can help you to better understand and remember the information.
- Use manipulatives: Manipulatives are objects that you can manipulate to learn math or science concepts, such as blocks, counters or cubes, These can be used to represent numbers, scientific concepts, and equations and simulate real-life scenarios.
If you vibe with this type of learning then get creative in how you approach your studies! your body may just hold the key to unlocking your study and academic success!
Final thoughts on VARK Learning Style
Well, there you have it! With VARK, you now have a better understanding of yourself as a learner and can make the best decisions for your higher education through various learning styles.
What’s even more exciting is that this style of learning is easily applicable to all areas of life.
Not only will applying the VARK mode of learning help you understand what methods work best for absorbing new information, but it also helps to identify your strengths and weaknesses so you can level up on those skills.
Investing in yourself is always the best option. Continue striving for efficiency in the way you learn by using all four learning modalities depending on what works for YOU!
Don’t forget to take advantage of other helpful resources like virtual tutorials, tutoring services, student clubs and expert mentorship - they're all invaluable tools.
As much as we use technology today, nothing beats the power of tangible learning resources.
Lastly, don’t forget to check out my weekly blog updates for all things Uni!
Whether you need help with topics related to VARK or just looking for some clever study hacks.
This post was all about VARK Learning Styles.
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