The VARK questionnaire helps analyze the personal learning style and contributes factors to enhancing the educational process. It can be both helpful for the student and the instructor to have an understanding of their learning preferences to optimize the educational process. This report will seek to analyze personal VARK questionnaire results and examine the extent to which these results can be applied in various aspects of education and role as a health professional.
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Summary of Learning Style
The VARK questionnaire identified the learning style as visual. This style is characterized by a visual and graphical representation of data through various devices. Such modes as maps, diagrams, charts, symbols, and other graphics are used to portray information that is usually depicted in words. Although the learning style does not include pictures, photographs, or videos, it encompasses aspects of visual design, pattern, shapes, whitespace, and other formats. Overall, the visual demonstration of relationships and patterns through the use of drawn diagrams may be helpful for students with this style (VARK, n.d.).
Preferred Learning Strategies
Personal learning strategies include reading or hearing the information and attempting to create outlines and diagrams so that logical chains are formed by grouping similar aspects together. Since few texts include diagrams, it is analyzed by drawing diagrams next to relevant paragraphs or adding additional thoughts in boxes branching off. The text is also highlighted, circled, and underlined to visually emphasize important points. These strategies mostly fit with those described under the visual learning style in the questionnaire. It is helpful to visualize information through diagram representation.
However, personal preference tends to include text in the diagram creation process as well as visually highlighting words. Meanwhile, the VARK website describes this learning style as completely opposed to the use of text since it is more relatable to the read/write preference. It can be argued that while individuals may have a strong preference towards one style, it is likely everyone uses some combination of them without being labeled as mixtures multimodality in the VARK questionnaire since it is both unrealistic and unlikely that all information in any educational setting will be relayed in one style only.
Individual Learning Styles
Understanding and utilizing one’s individual learning style is meant to improve academic performance and comprehension of the material. A relatively large study of 500 students by Urval et al. (2014) identified that a large majority of 68.7% have multimodal preferences which are independent of either sex or academic performance. Another study by Husmann and O’Loughlin (2018) that as many as 67% of students used strategies that were inconsistent with their identified VARK learning style.
Nevertheless, there was no statistical difference in academic performance among those who followed their VARK preferences and those who did not as well as a lack of evidence that a specific VARK category demonstrated improved outcomes. However, both studies found that students felt inherently more comfortable following specific strategies and learning styles can be used to achieve outcomes naturally. Since a person does not commonly classify themselves to a style, instead, they develop routines and habits which are satisfactory and optimal to their individual needs.
An educator should be aware of individual learning styles in order to respect student’s individuality and approach to the content, which can greatly contribute to efficiency in education. Taking learning styles into consideration, an instructor can design innovative educational material and variations in lessons which would ensure adequate content presentation and interaction with the students. As a result, students will be more engaged and comfortable interacting with the course material. The VARK framework should become essential to lesson planning and competent adaptation of educational material for effective learning in individual groups of students (Klement, 2014).
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Understanding Learning Styles
Limited understanding of health-related topics during health promotion or patient education is ineffective and leads to poor health outcomes. It is important to deliver information in a manner tailored to the preferred learning styles and health literacy levels of the individuals. For example, nurses who actively participate in public health promotion and patient education are expected to have fundamental instructional skills which emphasize assessing the learning style within the context that would allow for an individualized approach as well as the incorporation of modalities that would enhance the learning process (Blevins, 2018).
As the application of a particular style leads to an understanding of the material, it is likely to result in better adherence and reduction of negative outcomes. Education targeted through VARK styles can be effective at changing self-care behaviors as patients feel understanding of the disease and, in turn, more empowered. A patient learns a set of purposeful behaviors to modify lifestyles and manage conditions (Moghadam, Hozhabr-Araghi, Vashani, Moonaghi, & Bazzi, 2016).
Accommodating various learning styles in a health promotion setting would be similar to a classroom. One should offer a variety of materials and media to accommodate different styles. Providing an uncommon experience that would bring people out of their comfort zone may be effective for comprehension. Finally, a multisensory approach during teaching and allowing patients to work at their own pace is vital.
It is evident that one’s personal learning style can have a significant influence on the process of education and the intake of information. At times, it may be difficult to identify since the style may change depending on the context. However, it is important to understand one’s personal preferences as well as the general styles of students if one is an instructor in order to enhance the learning and communication process. The VARK styles can apply outside of education in areas such as public health promotion or health education in order to create interventions that would be comprehensible and relatable to the general public.
Blevins, S. (2018). The art of patient education. Medsurg Nursing, 27(6), 401-402.
Husmann, P. R., & O’Loughlin, V. D. (2018). Another nail in the coffin for learning styles? Disparities among undergraduate anatomy students’ study strategies, class performance, and reported VARK learning styles. Anatomical Sciences Education, 1-14. Web.
Klement, M. (2014). How do my students study? An analysis of students of educational disciplines favorites learning styles according to VARK classification. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, 132, 384-390. Web.
Moghadam, A. R. S., Hozhabr-Araghi, F., Vashani, H. B., Moonaghi, H. K., & Bazzi, A. (2016). Evaluation of the effect of self-care education based on VARK learning style on HbA1c and FBS levels in patients with type II diabetes. Surgical Nursing Journal, 5(2), 58-65. Web.
Urval, R. P., Kamath, A., Ullal, S., Shenoy, A. K., Shenoy, N., & Udupa, L. A. (2014). Assessment of learning styles of undergraduate medical students using the VARK questionnaire and the influence of sex and academic performance. Advances in Physiology Education, 38(3), 216-20. Web.
VARK. (n.d.). The VARK modalities. Web.