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One of the biggest helps in education is getting the most from your lectures. How can you maximize your time spent studying? By first understanding how you learn.

If you are a visual learner with a instructor who lectures only you may find yourself having to go back over your notes and create diagrams or graphs that explain the material. I want to introduce an online questionnaire, VARK.This questionnaire consists of 16 questions that break down the ways you learn best.There are 5 categories of VARK, yes five categories from a 4 letter work.

Visual , Auditory, Read/Write , Kinestic, and Multiple Modals.

Visual (V):

Learns best from:

  • depiction of information in maps,
  • spider diagrams,
  • charts,
  • graphs,
  • flow charts,
  • labelled diagrams,
  • and all the symbolic arrows, circles, hierarchies and other devices, that people use to represent what could have been presented in words.
  • designs, white space, patterns, and shapes

It does NOT include

  • still pictures
  • photographs of reality,
  • movies,
  • videos or PowerPoint.

When a teacher moves to the whiteboard and draws a diagram with meaningful symbols for the relationship between different things that will be helpful for those with a Visual preference. It must be more than mere words in boxes otherwise it is helpful to those who have Read/write as their first and main preference. Take the Questionnaire
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Aural / Auditory (A):

Learn best from

  • lectures,
  • group discussion,
  • radio,
  • email,
  • using mobile phones,
  • speaking,
  • web-chat
  • and talking things through.

Often people with this preference want to sort things out by speaking, rather than sorting out their ideas and then speaking so in they may say again what has already been said or ask an obvious and previously answered question. They have need to say it themselves and learn through saying it – their way. Take the Questionnaire
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Read/write (R):

Learns best from:

  • PowerPoint
  • the Internet
  • lists
  • diaries
  • dictionaries
  • thesauri
  • quotations
  • and words, words, words…

This preference is for information displayed as words. Not surprisingly, many teachers and students have a strong preference for this mode. Being able to write well and read widely are attributes sought by employers of graduates. This preference emphasizes text-based input and output – reading and writing in all its forms but especially essays, reports and assignments. Take the Questionnaire
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Kinesthetic (K):

Learn best from:

  • demonstrations,
  • simulations, videos
  • and movies of “real” things,
  • as well as case studies,
  • practice and applications.

The key is the reality or concrete nature of the example. If it can be grasped, held, tasted, or felt it is probably to be included here. People with this as a strong preference learn from the experience of doing something and they value their own background of experiences and less so, the experiences of others. Take the Questionnaire
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Multimodals (MM):

Life is multimodal. There are seldom instances where one mode is used, or is sufficient, so we have a four-part VARK profile. That is why the VARK questionnaire gives you four scores and also why there are mixtures of the four modes. Those who do not have a standout mode with one preference score well above other scores are defined as multimodal. They are of two types. There are those who are flexible in their communication preferences and who switch from mode to mode depending on what they are working with. They are context specific. They choose a single mode to suit the occasion or situation. If they have to deal with legalities they will apply their Read/write preference. If they are to watch the demonstration of a technique they will be expressing their Kinesthetic preference. They are described as VARK Type One in our database and they may have two, three or four almost-equal preferences (VARK scores) . There are others who are not satisfied until they have had input (or output) in all of their preferred modes. They take longer to gather information from each mode and, as a result, they often have a deeper and broader understanding. They may be seen as procrastinators or slow-deliverers but some may be merely gathering all the information before acting – and their decision making and learning may be better because of that breadth. They are described as VARK Type Two in our database. (found from VARK website)

Take the Questionnaire
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