Everyone has a preferred learning style. The VARK Learning Style used in Taylor’s focuses on the different ways we take in, think about, organise and give out information. VARK provides you with a profile of your instructional preferences i.e. how in academic learning we usually use our sight, speech and hearing to capture and process information. No student or teacher is restricted to only one mode for communication intake and output. Some have dominant preferences while others may not. The power of VARK is that it provides a useful way to explore learning preferences.
The acronym VARK stands for Visual, Aural, Read/write, and Kinesthetic. These are the sensory modalities that are used for learning, managing information and reflecting on our experiences:
- Visual (V): includes the depiction of information in charts, graphs, flow charts, and all the symbolic arrows, circles, hierarchies and other devices that teachers use to represent what might have been presented in words. Layout, whitespace, headings, patterns, designs and color are important in establishing meaning. Those with this as a strong preference are more aware of their immediate environment and their place in space.
- Aural (A): describes a preference for information that is spoken or heard. Those with support for this modality report that they learn best from discussion, oral feedback, email, phone chat, discussion boards, oral presentations, classes, tutorials, and talking with others.
- Read/write (R): prefers information to be displayed as words either read or written. Many academics and students have a strong preference for this mode. These learners place importance on the precision in language and are keen to use quotes, lists, texts, books and manuals.
- Kinesthetic (K): refers to the preference of learning by doing and the use of experience and practice i.e. the student is connected to reality, “either through experience, example, practice or simulation,”. This mode uses many senses (sight, touch, taste and smell) and prefer movement to take in the environment to experience and learn new things.