VARK Learning Preference

What is a Learning Preference and What is VARK?
(http://www.vark-learn.com/english/page.asp?p=introduction)

Do You Know How You Learn?
VARK tells you something about yourself that you may or may not know. It can be used to understand your boss, your colleagues, your parents, your teacher, your relatives and yourself. It is a short, simple inventory that has been well-received because its dimensions are intuitively understood and its applications are practical. It has helped people understand each other and especially students to learn more effectively and faculty to become more sensitive to the diversity of teaching strategies necessary to reach all students. Although copyrighted, VARK is free for use in student or faculty development as long as attribution is given. If you have permission to use VARK (see the copyright page), here is the acknowledgement you should use:

Copyright Version 4.1 (2002) held by Neil D. Fleming, Christchurch, New Zealand and Charles C. Bonwell, Green Mountain Falls, Colorado 80819 U.S.A. This material may be used for faculty or student development if attribution is given. It may not be published in either paper or electronic form without consent of the authors. The VARK website is at www.vark-learn.com.


Although we have known for centuries about the different modes, this inventory, initially developed in 1987 by Neil Fleming, Lincoln University, New Zealand, was the first to systematically present a series of questions with help-sheets for students, teachers, employees, and others to use in their own way.

Once you know about VARK, its power to explain things around you will be a revelation.

Take the VARK Learning Perference

  • Go to the VARK Web Site: http://www.vark-learn.com/english/page.asp?p=introduction
  • Click on the like: "Questionaire"
  • Fill-out the Questionaire and follow the instructions
  • You can view the mini-report for free.
  • Once you see your Learning Preference, read the information below about the various Learning Preferences 
How Can You Use the Results (http://www.vark-learn.com/english/page.asp?p=helpsheets)

Study Practices Keyed to VARK Preferences
Your VARK preferences can be used to help you develop additional, effective study skills. From the choices below, select your particular preference(s) to see how you should: 
   1. take in information; 
   2. study information for maximum learning; 
   3. study for performing well on an examination.

Learning Preferences

  • V = Visual Study Strategies
  • A = Aural Study Strategies
  • R = Read/write Study Strategies
  • K = Kinesthetic Study Strategies
  • MM = Multimodal Study Strategie 
Multimodal Study Strategies
If you have multiple preferences you are in the majority as somewhere between fifty and seventy percent of any population seems to fit into that group. 

Multiple preferences are interesting and quite varied. For example you may have two strong preferences V and A or R and K, or you may have three strong preferences such as VAR or ARK. Some people have no particular strong preferences and their scores are almost even for all four modes. For example one student had scores of V=9, A=9, R=9, and K=9. She said that she adapted to the mode being used or requested. If the teacher or supervisor preferred a written mode she switched into that mode for her responses and for her learning. 

So multiple preferences give you choices of two or three or four modes to use for your interaction with others. Some people have admitted that if they want to be annoying they stay in a mode different from the person with whom they are working. For example they may ask for written evidence in an argument, knowing that the other person much prefers to refer only to oral information. Or they may ask for “concrete' examples knowing that the other person has a low preference for kinesthetic input and output. These are what some people do when they feel negative. Positive reactions mean that those with multimodal preferences choose to match or align their mode to the significant others around them. 

If you have two dominant or equal preferences please read the study strategies that apply to your two choices. If you have three preferences read the three lists that apply and similarly for those with four. You will need to read two or three or four lists of strategies. One interesting piece of information that people with multimodal preferences have told us is that it is necessary for them to use more than one strategy for learning and communicating. They feel insecure with only one. Alternatively those with a single preference often "get it" by using the set of strategies that align with their single preference. 

Visual Study Strategies 
If you have a strong preference for learning by Visual methods (V = visual ) you should use some or all of the following: 

INTAKE : To take in the information you should:

  • prefer lecturers whou use gestures and picturesque language
SWOT - Study without tears: To make a learnable package you should: 

Convert your lecture “notes” into a learnable package by reducing them (3:1) into picture pages 

  • reconstruct the images in different ways
  • try spacial arrangements
  • replace words and symbols with initials
  • look at your pages 
OUTPUT - To perform well in the examination you should:
  • draw things, use diagrams
  • write exam answers
  • recall the pictures made by your pages
  • write exam answers
  • practice turning your visuals back into words 
You want the whole picture so you are probably holistic rather than reductionist in your approach.. You are often swayed by the look of an object. You are interested in color and layout and design and you know where you are.  You are probably going to draw something. 

Aural Study Strategies
If you have a strong preference for learning by Aural methods (A = hearing ) you should use some or all of the following: 

INTAKE : To take in the information you should:

  • attend lectures 
  • attend tutorials 
  • discuss topics with other students 
  • discuss topics with your lecturers 
  • explain new ideas to other people 
  • use a tape recorder 
  • remember the interesting examples, stories, jokes... 
  • describe the overheads, pictures and other visuals to somebody who was not there 
  • leave spaces in your lecture notes for later recall and 'filling' 
SWOT - Study without tears: To make a learnable package you should: 

Convert your lecture “notes” into a learnable package by reducing them (3:1) 

  • Your lecture notes may be poor because you prefer to listen. You will need to expand your notes by talking with others and collecting notes from the textbook. 
  • Put your summarised notes onto tapes and listen to them. 
  • Ask others to 'hear' your understanding of a topic. 
  • Read your summarised notes aloud. 
  • Explain your notes to another 'aural' person. 
OUTPUT - To perform well in the examination you should:
  • Talk with the examiner 
  • Listen to your voices and write them down. 
  • Spend time in quiet places recalling the ideas. 
  • Practice writing answers to old exam questions. 
  • Speak your answers. 
You prefer to have all of this page explained to you. The written words are not as valuable as those you hear. You will probably go and tell somebody about this. 

Read/Write Study Strategies 
If you have a strong preference for learning by Reading and Writing (R & W) learning you should use some or all of the following: 

INTAKE : To take in the information you should: 

  • lists 
  • headings 
  • dictionaries 
  • glossaries 
  • definitions 
  • handouts 
  • textbooks 
  • readings - library 
  • lecture notes (verbatim) 
  • lecturers who use words well and have lots of information in sentences and notes 
  • essays 
  • manuals (computing and laboratory) 
SWOT - Study without tears: To make a learnable package you should: 

Convert your lecture “notes” into a learnable package by reducing them (3:1). 

  • Write out the words again and again. 
  • Read your notes (silently) again and again. 
  • Rewrite the ideas and principles into other words. 
  • Organise any diagrams, graphs ... into statements, e.g. "The trend is..." 
  • Turn reactions, actions, diagrams, charts and flows into words. 
  • Imagine your lists arranged in multiplechoice questions and distinguish each from each. 
OUTPUT - To perform well in the examination you should:
  • Write exam answers. 
  • Practice with multiple choice questions. 
  • Write paragraphs, beginnings and endings. 
  • Write your lists (a,b,c,d,1,2,3,4). 
  • Arrange your words into hierarchies and points. 
You like this page because the emphasis is on words and lists. You believe the meanings are within the words, so any talk is OK but this handout is better. You are heading for the library. 

Kinesthetic Study Strategies 
If you have a strong Kinesthetic preference for learning you should use some or all of the following: 

INTAKE : To take in the information you should: 

  • all your senses - sight, touch, taste, smell, hearing ... 
  • laboratories 
  • field trips 
  • field tours 
  • examples of principles 
  • lecturers who give real-life examples 
  • applications 
  • hands-on approaches (computing) 
  • trial and error 
  • collections of rock types, plants, shells, grasses... 
  • exhibits, samples, photographs... 
  • recipes - solutions to problems, previous exam papers 
SWOT - Study without tears: To make a learnable package you should: 

Convert your lecture “notes” into a learnable package by reducing them (3:1). 

  • Your lecture notes may be poor because the topics were not 'concrete' or 'relevant'. 
  • You will remember the "real" things that happened. 
  • Put plenty of examples into your summary. Use case studies and applications to help with principles and abstract concepts. 
  • Talk about your notes with another "K" person. 
  • Use pictures and photographs that illustrate an idea. 
  • Go back to the laboratory or your lab manual. 
  • Recall the experiments, field trip... 
OUTPUT - To perform well in the examination you should:
  • Write practice answers, paragraphs... 
  • Role play the exam situation in your own room. 
You want to experience the exam so that you can understand it. The ideas on this page are only valuable if they sound practical, real, and relevant to you. You need to do things to understand.