The choice of learning strategies is important since it predetermines the success of the learning process. People have diverse learning preferences. Some learn better through visual strategies, and some are more successful with reading or writing strategies. There are tests and questionnaires which help to determine learning preferences and thus positively contribute to learning performance. This paper presents the analysis of the VARK Questionnaire which allows to identify preferred learning strategies and empower the learning process.
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Summary of the Learning Style
According to the results of the VARK Questionnaire, I have a multimodal learning preference. I have got the highest scores in reading and writing (10 points), eight points for visual strategies, and five and four for kinesthetic and aural strategies correspondently. Strong preference for reading and writing learning means that I can better percept information from lists, dictionaries, definitions, textbooks, etc. (“Read/Write strategies,” 2018). For example, this learning strategy comprises writing out words many times, taking and reading notes, paraphrasing the important ideas, transforming graphs and diagrams into text and vice versa, and other similar activities that are based on reading and writing.
Individuals who prefer reading and writing learning usually perform well during written exams. Multiple choice questions and the creation of lists can be used as methods to practice before tests and exams. Visual strategies are also effective for my learning according to the VARK Questionnaire. The visual strategy comprises gestures used by a presenter, different posters, pictures, slides or videos, graphs, and diagrams, etc. The visual strategy is applicable through the use of diagrams, charts, or drawing pictures to illustrate the content. The fact that the questionnaire results revealed my multimodal learning preference means that although I learn better with reading, writing, and visual strategies, kinesthetic and aural ones can be used as well as additional strategies.
Preferred Learning Strategies
Analyzing my learning experience, I can mention the following learning strategies that I prefer:
- Visual strategies
- Writing strategies
- Reading strategies
- Kinesthetic strategies
Comparison of the Preferred and Identified Learning Strategies
The strategies that I have listed as preferred and those that were identified by the VARK Questionnaire are similar. I have mentioned visual strategies as the most preferred, but the test proved that I could be more effective in case I use reading/writing strategies. Also, I frequently use writing in my studies. I have noticed that I remember material better if I take notes and read them afterward. According to my experience, kinesthetic strategies are effective in some cases. When there is an opportunity to see, touch, or taste something, it should be used. For example, laboratory classes or field trips can be more beneficial for some subjects and topics than lectures or textbooks.
Influence of Learning Styles, Preferences, and Strategies on Teaching and Learning
Individual learning styles are frequently decisive for academic performance. Learning styles, preferences, and strategies have an impact both on teaching and learning. For example, Kharb, Samanta, Jindal, and Singh (2013) investigate the learning styles and the preferred teaching-learning strategies of first-year medical students. The findings of this cross-sectional study revealed that the majority of first-year medical students (61%) have multimodal VARK preferences. Most of these (41%) gave preference to bimodal ways of information presentation while there were also the students who preferred trimodal and the quadrimodal ways (Kharb et al., 2013). The other 39% of respondents proved to have a unimodal learning preference. Among the students who have a strong learning preference, the majority favored the kinesthetic strategy while reading and writing were less frequent.
As for the teaching methodology, the students participating in the study preferred practicals (39%). A tutorial was selected as the least popular teaching methodology with only 12% (Kharb et al., 2013). This study proves that a single approach cannot be effective with all the students. Moreover, the definition of the preferred learning styles is a necessary intervention because it can be useful for teachers and help them select productive learning strategies.
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Worsley and Blikstein (2015) investigate leveraging multimodal learning analytics, which can be used to differentiate student learning strategies. The researchers conclude that their study is helpful in understanding student learning. Moreover, the analysis of student learning strategies can influence the choice of teaching techniques thus making the process of learning more effective. As a result, the academic performance of students is likely to increase. Still, the choice of teaching strategies should depend not only on students’ preferences but also on the peculiarities of the subject.
To conclude, it is necessary to say that the definition of the preferred learning strategies is an important intervention in any educational process. Since the quality of knowledge is one of the purposes of education, consideration of students’ preferences should become an integral part of the learning process. Thus, students’ preferences in learning strategies should determine the choice of teaching strategies and shape the educational process to make it more effective. Increased attention to learning strategies is likely to increase students’ interest in education and improve their overall academic performance.
Kharb, P., Samanta, P.P., Jindal, M., & Singh, V. (2013). The learning styles and the preferred teaching–learning strategies of first year medical students. Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research, 7(6), 1089-1092. Web.
Read/Write strategies. (2018). Web.
Worsley, M., & Blikstein, P. (2015). Leveraging multimodal learning analytics to differentiate student learning strategies. Proceedings of the Fifth International Conference on Learning Analytics and Knowledge – LAK ’15. Web.