By using VARK in our teaching our students start to reflect on their own and others’ learning – in that way we improve!
My company (AK Nextant LLC) was engaged in a strategic visioning project with Microsoft’s global customer support division (CSS). We incorporated VARK into a significant survey of Microsoft customers that was attempting to explore actionable market segmentation criteria among Microsoft’s customers. The intention was that VARK might provide some insights into the characteristic behaviors of Microsoft customers and allow for improved communication back to those customers through customizable modes of presentation. The results provided some very informative feedback and gave us deeper insights as to how Microsoft’s Customer Support division could improve customer engagement through more directly tailoring customer interactions. That project became the bedrock of a new long-term Vision for Microsoft’s Customer Support division and has also contributed to how CSS now looks at developing new web-based support services.
VARK assists our new students to identify their learning styles. This helps them understand which study methods can contribute to the effectiveness of their learning. This has enabled many of our students to make a success of their studies.
Why not empower students by helping them identify their learning preferences, and offer them advice on how to utilize those in response to the different teaching styles they might encounter?
Observing the great variety of learning styles exhibited by students, Fleming came to the same conclusion many faculty have reached: namely, that it seems unrealistic to hope to provide programs that can meet the needs of all these learning styles, to ask the teacher to forgo his strengths and become a presentational pretzel. Instead, Fleming thought, why not empower students by helping them identify their learning preferences, and offer them advice on how to utilize those in response to the different teaching styles they might encounter? If the responsibility for learning has really always lain with the student, the awareness derived from VARK merely highlights for students the tools they already like to use and how to use them better. An important feature of the VARK instrument (which Fleming likes to call a “catalyst” in contrast with an “inventory”) is the “study strategies” that accompany it.
Decreased failure rate
I started using the VARK Learning Style Inventory about a year ago, for the specific purpose of increasing math proficiency in first-year engineering students in a nonprofit environment. I managed to combine VARK results with teaching strategies related to it. The results have been amazing: Student failure decreased by about 30%, teachers are happier and we’ve just been commissioned to design a project to support high schools in our community… For all of the above, many thanks.