A student’s guide to improved learning
Charles Bonwell and Neil Fleming completed this book to support the VARK questionnaire and its learning strategies. As well as chapters about each of the single and multiple modalities of VARK there are comments from those with strong preferences and recent data from the collection of questionnaire results on the website. The book is produced for students and highlights the strategies they might use for their learning.
Excerpts from the book
Development or Safety First – Stretching or Matching
VARK provides students with an indication of their preferences for learning and as such it will indicate stronger and weaker preferences. It would be wonderful if students could explore their weaker preferences and enhance them by using all the VARK strategies associated with them. A student with a strong Read/Write preference might learn to use Visual strategies for note-taking or expressing his/her learning. Or, a student with a strong Visual preference might attend a course to assist with Kinesthetic ways of taking information in or for expressing it. Indeed, there are a number of such courses available in most communities. For example, there are usually seminars and workshops for developing mind-mapping skills or creative writing or improving reading comprehension or accelerated learning.
But there is at least one point on which students and faculty differ. For most students there are stressful tests and examinations where they are expected to indicate how much they have learned. For faculty there are fewer stress times in their lives because of their prior experience and learning. This has a significant effect on whether VARK can be used for the development of new skills or the reinforcement of older ones. While some students seek opportunities to learn new strategies at every opportunity that is not general. Many students in higher education are at critical points in their search for employment, or partners, or self-esteem, and they often cling to the strategies and preferences that they have, rather than extending themselves into unknown areas. For them it is often a matter of staying with what they know best, despite some professors urging them, to expand their repertoire.
The Absence of a Visual Preference (An example from the text in the book).
So your results show an absence (a zero score) on the Visual (V) preference dimension!
“You may have some distrust of graphs and diagrams and anything that relies on symbolism. You don’t always share the same meaning of these symbols as others do. An arrow representing a flow may mean something quite different to you. The placement of words on a page has little added meaning and things like layout and style are not as important as they are to some others. You may have difficulty understanding why others place so much importance on trivial things like fonts and formats and layouts. You probably get lost trying to find your way to other places and you may have little memory for the surroundings in a room, an auditorium or a house. You might prefer not to use a map to find your way. Remembering what people wear or what they look like is probably not a strong point for you. Who cares about merely pictures! Just because it is on a screen does not make something suitable for a student with a Visual preference.“