During the years of studying, both in school and in college, I worked with the learning material in a way that was the most convenient for me. I prefer practice to theory, and I always try to escape the verbose explanations of what needs to be done. I believe that only when one tries to do something on their own, can one understand the essence of things. However, at the University I felt a need to analyze my learning style deeper, or, so to say, “learn how to learn”.
Indeed, trying to organize the studying process rather than simply doing the things that are usually can help students to improve their learning abilities and make studying more effective. As it was mentioned in one scientific article, there is a need to “investigate correlations between learning styles, instructional methods used, and academic performance of students in the health professions” (Brown, 2008).
As I have already mentioned, my studying process is usually based on practical activities. That is why, my preferred learning strategies include working in groups, discussions, debates, etc. I also like to work with the information which I can check by myself, and with the models that can be reproduced in real life. In addition, I believe that visuals play an important role in the studying process because they involve imagination and introduce concrete images instead of amorphous descriptions.
That is why pictures, diagrams, and illustrations were always helpful for me. However, it is obvious, that a learning style is “a description of process, or preferences” (Fleming, 2006) rather than a set of tools used for learning something. From this perspective, I should note that my learning preferences involve different activities, which can be interesting and exciting. I also noticed that I have an ability to reproduce someone’s world better than what I have read, so alive communication is better for me to use in studying.
Completing a VARK questionnaire appeared to present a more detailed analysis of my learning style. For instance, the test “classifies learners by their preferred mode of interaction with other based on input stimulus and output performance” (Byrne, 2002). Thus, my results were:
- V- 1
- A- 7
- R- 10
- K- 8
As it can be seen, the test proved that I am a kinesthetic learner, as far as this criterion scored 8 out of 10 possible points. This means that I tend to involve all of my senses in the learning process. I perceive information by touch, smell, taste, and other senses that can provide some concrete characteristics of a certain subject. In other words, a kinesthetic learning process should involve “real experiences, concrete examples, case studies, active movement, etc” (Hassan, 2005). This result was not surprising for me, as I have mentioned my preference for the active studying process at the beginning of this paper.
However, there was some controversial point about the test. To be specific, VARK analysis showed that my visual learning style deserves only 1 point. Before the test, I was convinced that the visual materials can help me to learn better, but the truth is that their use is not able to make my studying process more effective. This was a surprising aspect, and I hope that it will help me to make necessary changes in order to improve my learning abilities.
As for the aural perception, which has a score of 7, I also was a bit surprised. I knew that the information that I heard can be easily remembered by me, but I could never suppose how important can audio material is in my studying process.
The last criterion, which is reading and writing, has a score of 10. As you can see, while describing my learning preferences, I mentioned the fact that I do not really like to read many complicated explanations, and that I should communicate with people rather than use written material. However, it appeared that the real results are far from my vision of the studying process. The test showed that reading and writing are very important for me, and that involving these activities in the learning process will allow reaching the highest efficiency in understanding and remembering.
All in all, the results of the test showed that I belong to a group of learners who prefer the multimodal study strategies (Fleming, 2010). This means that I can combine several models that are most suitable for me. Therefore, taking into consideration the test results, I will consider changing my studying process a bit in order to make it more effective.
For instance, I am definitely going to develop my kinesthetic learning abilities. With this purpose, For follow the advice of experts and use bright colors to highlight information in the printed materials. In addition, I will try to organize my studying schedule in a way that will allow making frequent breaks (Cottrell, 1999).
One more introduction in my learning style would be involving more reading; however, I believe that this activity should be best combined with aural ones. As an example, it can be more helpful for me to read a text aloud than to read it in a usual way. There is also an option to use audio records synchronically with the written or printed material, which will involve both hearing and vision. I will also try to write out the important pieces of information, as far as, according to the VARK analysis, writing is also important for me. I believe that these changes will make my learning process more effective.
Brown, T, Cosgriff, T (2008). Learning Style Preferences of Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy, and Speech Pathology Students: A Comparative Study. JAHSP, 6(3): 1-12.
Byrne, D (2002). A Study of Individual Learning Styles and Educational Multimedia Preferences. Dublin City University, 1-17.
Cottrell, S (1999). The Study Skills Handbook. Basingstoke: Macmillan.
Fleming, N (2010). A guide to learning styles. VARK. Web.
Fleming, N, Baume, D (2006). Learning Styles Again: VARKing up the right tree!. Educational Developments, 7(4): 4-7.
Hassan, R (2005). How Learners Respond to Computer Based Learning Material Based on Modality Learning Style. University of Tunn Hussein Onn Malaysia, 1-9.