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The Biggest Myths About VARK Learning Styles

by on 25/10/2019     782 208

Cognitive Psychology for Learning in Classroom

It is not about the right or wrong way on how to learn, it is about finding the best secrets to unlock the individual’s cognitive advancement. Learning styles can be defined as different approaches or ways of learning. It is believed that each individual have their own identifiable preference of interacting with, taking in, and processing information. According to Sreenidhi & Tay (2017), learning styles involve personalizing the educating methods, particular to an individual that are presumed to allow that individual to learn best.

Throughout the years of studies in cognitive psychology, researchers have found numerous salient connections in knowledge acquisition; left-brain and right-brain processing, field independence and sensitivity, ambiguity tolerance and intolerance, reflectivity and impulsivity, yet visual, aural, read/write or kinesthetic/tactile (VARK) learning styles model still stands the test of time. Developed by psychologist and teaching specialists such as Fernald, Keller, Orton, Gillingham, Stillman, Montessori in the 1920's and later enriched by Neil D Fleming in the 1980's, the combination of VARK learning styles model is most commonly cited for this particular learning setting: the classroom (Brown, 2014).

Putting on how significant this frame is in today’s early childhood formal teaching and learning, this model suggested that children (even adult learners) have the tendency that they display towards visual, auditory, reading/writing, and/or kinesthetic input. However, the said learning styles may not be as effective as it is believed due to inconspicuous reasons. What we don’t know about VARK learning styles can be hurdles in our academic attainment.

The Myths and The Truths

Learners only have one learning style as an individual.

Myth. Nonentity is solitarily as one than the others. Even if you are identified as one of the visual, aural, read / write or kinesthetic learner, you are not exclusively learning through only one of those said learning styles. To be exact, an individual may have one dominant style, while also be accompanied and helped by other learning styles. For example, a learner could be 50% as visual learner, 15% contributed by learning through auditory, 15% through read/write and 20% through kinesthetic.

Based on the example above, the learner learn best by using methods that are primarily visual, but without other areas play their parts in, the process of learning wouldn’t be as effective either for the learner. Remember, there must be reasons why the VARK combination and holistic learning exist.

Learners are supposed to learn the same way.

Myth. There are two differences that the learners need to acknowledge. The first difference is the nature of the subjects. For instance, Practical Life is learnt best by doing rather than reading about it. By experiencing the activities physically, a learner may encounter the hidden challenges that entangled with it. The learner has to come up with his/her best solution to handle the situation, stimulated his/her holistic development and beneficial for one’s lifelong learning. After all, experience is the best teacher.

Second, VARK learning styles is all about recognizing the individual differences. Understand your strengths and weaknesses could save your life more than you know it. For illustration, if you are this type of learner, you know you will learn distinctively compared to other learning styles. You know what kind of things work and don’t work for you. Visual learner understands by sight; therefore it is important for one to sit in a classroom seating where he/she can see things, preferably near the front. Aural learner needs to be able to hear things, read/write learner needs to be able to jot things down, while tactile learner needs to move around in the classroom. Brown (2014) also added, it is important for teachers to gauge learners’ preferences, strengths and weaknesses, tendencies, and abilities in order to tailor an effective methodological approach.

Measurement of learning styles could be insufficient.

Truth. A number of options are available in aiding the learners to identify their own styles, preferences, strengths, and weaknesses. The most familiar method is a self-check questionnaire in which the learner answers to various questions, usually along a scale of points of agreement and disagreement. However, measurement of learning styles using self-inventory could be faulty in the sense of stable traits are overshadowed by false preferences and analysis. In addition, learners’ adaptive features and undisclosed circumstances also play a major role.