Eric Brohimer

 

April 2005

 

The V.A.R.K System

 

            One characteristic that makes us different from each other is the way we learn.  Each of us intake information differently from others and have preferences upon giving out information.  This makes ones chosen ways of learning unique.  Teachers and business have to find multi explanatory methods to appeal to all audiences of learning types.  One man has developed a learning resource.  The is called the V.A.R.K learning system. 

            The V.A.R.K system happens to be a learning style questionnaire.  It focuses on the areas of learning that suits a person best.  Several learning styles help one process information in the V.A.R.K system.  The first area used to process information is visual.  Some people learn best by pictures, graphs and tables.  The second mode is the aural  process mode which is for those that learn best by listening to speeches and lectures given by teachers or others.   The reading and writing is the third mode, and is for those who learn through text books and taking notes in class.  These people, tend to have to read their notes more than once to comprehend.  The last mode is Kinesthetic.  This area of learning is where those who prefer hands - on achieve the most in their learning.  These people learn best by performing the work, such as, a laboratory experiment.  Any combination of these learning styles is called the Multi-modal category.  The V.A.R.K questionnaire was created by Neil D. Fleming, who has been a teacher and educator in colleges for the past 40 years.  Fleming, has taught his V.A.R.K course of learning at Lincoln University, and travels extensively from his home in New Zealand, to around the world giving V.A.R.K learning styles seminars.  The difference of the V.A.R.K system compared to other learning systems, is it shows how we process information individually.  Just by completing a simple questionnaire, one can discover what types of learning mode applies.  That’s why his seminars fill up so quickly.  The V.A.R.K learning system is popular for college students, businesses and just the curious individual. 

            Upon taking the V.A.R.K questionnaire, I found out that my strongest area of learning was a tie.  The tie is between Kinesthetic and Read/Write.  The results surprised me, because I thought my result would be more visual than anything else.  The V.A.R.K system put me in the Multimodal category.  The multimodal Category is for those who have multiple preferences for learning strategies.  The V.A.R.K system points out that, “You are in the majority as somewhere between 50% and 75% of any population seems to fit into this group.”  It is said that multimodal preferences find it necessary to use more than one strategy for learning and communicating.  Yes, this part is true for me because I learn best from teachers that show work on the board with examples, as well as explanation of the subject.  For example, in my math class, I like when the teacher will demonstrate a problem on the board and then explain the rules from the text book about the problem.  I learn faster with examples shown first.  Reading the chapter afterwards helps it to make more sense.  That’s why it is very important for me to do the math homework problems assigned.  I can use the Read/Write and Kinesthetic learning strategies in my studying and achieve better scores on exams. 

            The learning and studying information on the V.A.R.K website are important.  Most people have never heard of the V.A.R.K.  I did not, until now.  People have different learning styles and these can affect how they process information.  For myself, my learning styles may not be suitable for the rest of the class.  When an instructor passes important information in class, I must write it down or copy it from the board, so I can process it later.  Fleming’s website, has excellent learning strategies for all types of learners. His strategy of recopying your notes from a 3:1 ratio for simplification of  learning is genius.  The one technique that helps me the most is reading your notes over and over (silently) until memorized. 

            The V.A.R.K inventory is one such tool that can be easy to use and give others information on how to maximize their learning.  All they have to do is start with the questionnaire.  Then their identified learning style can be applied to their study habits, work experiences, or everyday life.  The effect of learning is used in everything.