VARK. Not an aardvark, just a learning style…
I’m always surprised when I study with others. I have a friend who is really smart and can grasp material easily. The problem is, she doesn’t always study things correctly. For example, it’s easy for her – or anyone – to read a chapter and say “Ok, I read it.” But did you really? I had her – both of us – go header by header, underlining the most important things within each header and making sure it made sense under that header. I was talking online with Merrolee, OT extraordinare and educator in New Zealand, at the same time. She pointed me to the VARK website to take a quiz on learning style. VARK’s website explains: ” VARK is a questionnaire that provides users with a profile of their learning preferences. These preferences are about the ways that they want to take-in and give-out information.”
An example scoring may look like this (my friend Suzanne sent me her results):
- Visual: 7
- Aural: 10
- Read/Write: 13
- Kinesthetic: 13
You have a multimodal (VARK) learning preference.
Karen came out as a reader/writer – perhaps explaining her comfortableness with blogging as a mechanism for developing active reflection. We chatted a bit about the value of completing the questionnaire (and yes I know these have inherent weaknesses!).. but they are a great tool to stimulate the discussions between a student and fieldwork supervisor, or between students in group – while some students must read every word on a worksheet (reader/writers) and others just want to get on with the tasks (kinesthetic). So I find it to be a great tool for facilitating the discussions that can strengthen or clarify expectations between two or more people who need to work well together.
I have heard about the different types of learning styles before, but Merrolee reminded me of the importance of taking that into account when studying with others. I am such a strong reader/writer that I don’t understand when others don’t learn best that way. That means I can do well academically, but doesn’t mean I necessarily grasp “real world” issues that require visual and/or auditory learning ability. Maybe all OT students – all OT educators – hey, anyone – should take this quiz – and think about how knowledge of learning style preferences can positively affect interactions with others.