An individual style of learning refers to the preferred way in which people receive, process, comprehend and learn new information. The examination of learning modes has a significant influence on the educational process and classroom management as the choice of teaching tactics affects the learners’ results. This essay is based on the VARK questionnaire that tests the individual learning style. The purpose of this paper is to identify the styles of learning, describe the defined multimodal style and its strategies to compare them with individual tactics, examine the importance of an educator, and the influence of learning styles on behavior and health promotion.
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Learning Styles According to VARK
VARK is a model of learning, introduced by Neil Fleming, an educational theorist, that introduces five main styles of learning – visual, aural, reading and writing, kinesthetic, and multimodal learning (Prithishkumar & Michael, 2014). Visual learners prefer the process of education through images, graphic organizers, and maps to receive and process new information (“Learning styles,” n.d.).
Aural learners chose to speak and to listen, they benefit from repetition during their study and mnemonic devices. Learners with reading and writing preferences successfully receive new information through words, they frequently take notes, read widely, and perfectly convert ideas and concepts into essays and research papers (“Learning styles,” n.d.). Kinesthetic learners perceive information through its tactile representation, they understand better if they do things by hand.
According to the VARK questionnaire, my preferred learning style is multimodal, and it is the most widespread type of learning. 50-70 % of any population seems to be multimodal learners (“Multimodal strategies,” n.d.). Life is frequently multimodal, and the instances when exceptionally one style is used are highly rare (“The VARK modalities,” n.d.). The distinctive feature of the multimodal style is that it combines the preferences and strategies of all four modes – visual, aural, reading or writing, and kinesthetic learning. Multimodal learners prefer different formats – graphs, maps, diagrams, interesting layouts, discussions. Lectures, questioning, print texts, notes, handouts, practical exercises, examples, practices, case studies, trial and error, and real things.
As the multimodal style is a combination of four main modes of learning, it unites the preferences and strategies of multiple styles. While some people have strong preferences of aural and visual, or reading and kinesthetic styles, others combine the preferences of three or all modes (“Multimodal strategies,” n.d.). Multimodal learners may use pictures, books with diagrams and graphs, maps, decision and family trees, flowcharts, and organizational charts. They may use different fonts, colors, upper and lowercase letters, symbols, and underlining to emphasize and learn new information (“Visual strategies,” n.d.).
Moreover, multimodal learners, the same as aural learners, have conversations with other people, discuss topics, explain new concepts and ideas to their classmates, and listen to their own recorded speech (“Aural strategies,” n.d.). A significant number of multimodal learners read intensively as well, they read books, articles, essays, manuals, handouts, legal documents, and instructions. They make notes, and frequently use headings, titles, and bullet points in their writing to structure information for better learning (“Read/write strategies,” n.d). At last, similar to kinesthetic learners, they may prefer practice and personal experience before a theory (“Kinesthetic strategies,” n.d.). They choose demonstrations, team activities, and practical problem-solving techniques.
After passing the VARK test and examining the strategies, I have found confirmation that I am a multimodal learner. I use the same identified multimodal strategies, focusing on visual, aural, and reading/writing preferences. My choice of learning practices depends on the type of exercise and the teaching style of an educator. When I need to process and learn new information, I intuitively feel what kind of learning will be more useful in this situation – individual reading, watching materials concerning this subject, or another person’s explanation.
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Importance of an Educator
Every person develops his or her individual learning style due to personal characteristics that positively affect information adoption and learning. However, an educator may play a significant role in the shaping of the learners’ preferences as well. The teachers’ personal style of information presenting influences the degree of students’ understanding and learning. While multimodal learners match their mode to the educator’s mode, learners with other preferred styles may struggle to perform good results (Changthong, Manmart & Vongprasert, 2014). That is why it is highly significant for a professor to identify and consider the individual learning styles of students to use various techniques of teaching in the future.
Learning Styles in Health Disciplines
Health promotion is a sphere where the understanding of how to perform and receive information will lead to positive results. Some people are visually oriented or learn better alone, while others prefer touches and collaboration. That is why health promotion should use all strategies of learning and present information through diagrams, pictures, handouts, articles, training, seminars, and practices. Furthermore, various health disciplines examine learning styles and approaches to develop teaching modules as learning styles may lead to a behavioral change (Tsingos, Bosnic-Anticevich & Smith, 2015). For instance, collaboration with classmates may promote sociability, or structured writing increases thoughtfulness and responsibility.
According to a VARK model, there are five main styles of learning – visual, aural, reading and writing, kinesthetic, and multimodal learning. The multimodal style is defined as my preferred learning mode, it is characterized by the combination of all four types of learning, and its strategies consist of the multiple styles’ preferences. It is highly significant for an educator to identify and consider the individual learning styles of students as the agreement between teaching tactics and learners’ individual styles positively influences the degree of students’ understanding and learning. The examination of learning styles is highly essential for various health disciplines as the right strategies will result in effective learning.
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Changthong, J., Manmart, L., & Vongprasert, C. (2014). Learning styles: Factors affecting information behavior of Thai youth. Libres, 24(1), 50-61.
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Prithishkumar, I. J., & Michael, S. A. (2014). Understanding your student: Using the VARK model. Journal of Postgraduate Medicine, 60(2), 183-186. Web.
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Tsingos, C., Bosnic-Anticevich, S., & Smith, L. (2015). Learning styles and approaches: Can reflective strategies encourage deep learning? Currents in Pharmacy Teaching and Learning, 7(4), 492-504. Web.
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