Using VARK with a group


The questionnaire alerts people to the variety of different approaches to support learning. It supports those who have been having difficulties with their learning and has particular applications in business, sport, training and education. Mentors, trainers, teachers and coaches who would like to develop additional learning strategies can also benefit from using VARK. It can be used with a business group, a team or a class or with one-to-one training and counseling, but it does require some explanation to avoid leaping to inappropriate conclusions. Those wanting to use our copyright materials for enhancing their business or adding value need to visit the Copyright page and expect to budget for the cost.

Our online questionnaires are available in many languages and there are individualized learning PROFILES (pages of advice) available for purchase. These are pinged back to your browser immediately. Note: The online questionnaire provides the questions and options in a different (random) order each time. If you complete the questionnaire twice, the questions and options may be in a different order.

Administering the questionnaire

When you are instructing others to fill in the questionnaire they should be told to make a selection for each question. They may omit a question or they may choose more than one option if they want. Some may contest the meaning of words in the questionnaire and others may ask for additional contextual or situational information before they choose their answers. Avoid giving that information, as it may bias responses. Encourage them to choose more than one response if they think the context is not clear. Some may want to discuss the purpose of the questionnaire or its validity or reliability. Ask them to hold such questions till later when they can be more appropriately answered.

Please emphasize, in whatever ways you can, that the results indicate their preferences but are not necessarily their strengths. This reduces the anxiety for respondents who may express the view that the questionnaire says they are not good readers or not visually strong.

Before they complete the questionnaire it may be helpful to tell them that they are to answer the questions for themselves; not for others. Too much empathy will lead to muddled results.

Work and life experiences may blur differences between preferences as people learn to use Visual, Aural, Read/write and Kinesthetic modes in new situations. Preferences may also be masked by experiences.

No one mode is superior and there is no superior profile of VARK scores. Although business, government and academic institutions may appear to be biased towards using Read/write (print) resources, life is much more varied. And you can be successful with almost any combination. “You may be different but you are not dumb.” VARK believes that every learner can improve their learning strategies and there is no magic set of scores (Profiles).    People can use their VARK results to explore their own views about whether their VARK Profile fits them. For example, a person with a strong Visual preference could be asked:

  • “How important is colour in your life?”
  • “Do you consider yourself a Visual person?”
  • “Are there aspects of your life where your visual preference is obvious?”
  • “Do you think you have a strong sense of space or shape or position or location?”
  • “Do the study strategies fit with what you do now?”

Finally, some may ask questions about output preferences rather than input preferences. “How is it that I like reading but I hate writing?” Research indicates that those who have a strong preference for “taking in the world” in any particular mode (V, A, R, or K) will want to output in the same mode.

Analyzing the results

When your participants are using the online version of the questionnaire, preferences are calculated automatically. If you wish to use a paper version of the questionnaire, you will need to use the VARK calculator to work out the VARK preference for each participant; this and other resources are available with a VARK Business membership.  Our Individual and Institutional Educational Subscription services allows for the same practical help for those working in education.

Talking the results through with a group

Visit the page on understanding the results, and on VARK categories/modalities.