The power of VARK is that people understand it intuitively and it fits practice. In VARK workshops participants say, “Yes! That’s me.” But it is important to understand what your VARK results mean (and don’t mean!). And it is equally as important to know how you can use them to improve your learning.
A catalyst for thinking about how you learn best
The VARK results indicate a ‘rule of thumb’ and should not be rigidly applied. The questionnaire is not intended to ‘box’ you into a mindset that you have been ‘diagnosed’. Rather, it is designed to initiate discussion about, and reflection upon, your learning style – metacognition.
Explore your own views about whether the preference is accurate and helpful. For example, if you have an Aural preference, you could ask yourself:
- How important is discussion in your life?
- Are listening, speaking, and asking questions important ways for you to learn?
- Do you consider yourself an Aural person?
- Are there aspects of your life where your Aural preference is obvious?
- When is your Aural preference less important?
- Are there aspects of your life where your Aural preference is really important?
Using the Helpsheets
You should take advantage of your preferences and use the learning strategies listed in the VARK Helpsheets provided on this website.
If you have a multimodal set of VARK preferences, you may need to process information in more than one mode in order to get a thorough and satisfying understanding. If this is the case, you should try new study strategies listed under your multiple preferences in the Helpsheets.
Our experience is that many people become much more successful if they develop a range of learning strategies based on their preferences. It is clearly not helpful to use strategies that are outside your preferences (e.g. using mind maps may not help if you are strongly Kinesthetic. Mnemonics may not help if you have a low Read/write score and PowerPoint presentations may not be at all Visual if they place only words on the screen.)
Pay particular attention to zero scores on any mode and even more attention to them if the total number of responses is high. Zero scores in a profile are unusual and the person will often have an interesting story to tell. Zero does not mean they cannot use the strategies associated with that mode, only that it is not their preferred method of study.
THESE CAUTIONS ARE IMPORTANT!
- Preferences are not the same as strengths. Your VARK results indicate preferences, not strengths. Having a low score for Read/write does not mean that you cannot read!
- Focus on your preferences. We do not recommend trying to “improve” your use of your lowest-scoring modalities – going against your preferences is not likely to be motivating.
- VARK is about learning, not leisure. Some people with a zero score in their VARK profile for Visual, enjoy relaxing by drawing or painting or visiting art galleries!
- Did you complete the questionnaire correctly? If you have completed the questionnaire with empathy you will have indicated the preferences of others – not your own learning preferences. Go back and do it for yourself.
- VARK is about learning. Your VARK scores indicate how you prefer to learn; the four scores may not indicate how you teach, train, or work with others!
- Preferences may be masked by life and work experiences. Work and life experiences may blur the boundaries as people learn new ways to use Aural, Visual, Read/write, and Kinesthetic modes equally well.
- Understand each modality. The Visual and Kinesthetic modalities, in particular, are often confused. Be sure to read the summary about each modality so that you understand what your VARK preference means. Videos and photos are “Kinesthetic”, not “Visual”, and “Kinesthetic” strategies involve more than just doing things.