ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Understanding VARK Learning Preferences, Part 2

Updated on June 11, 2013
Diane Lockridge profile image

Lockridge holds an EdS in Curriculum and Instruction, an MS in Elementary Education, and a BA in History. She also homeschools her children.

Teachers who learn to tap into those strengths and learning preferences will help their students to be more successful and have a deeper understanding of material than if the teacher does not take the time to know his students and teach to their needs.

No 'Cookie Cutter' Learning— Not Everyone Learns the Same Way

Every teacher has a worldview and a preferred teaching style. Warnock (1988) as cited in Van Brummelen (2002) comments that “teachers will always go beyond teaching facts, they shirk their duty if they do not give their own views and opinions” (p. 3). Effective teachers do not merely teach from the textbook, they take into account curriculum deficiencies, current events, and the learning needs and preferences of their students. Steiner (n.d.) as cited in Fleming (2006) notes “Children will be affected in some way by whatever is taught and by the way in which it is presented” (p. 23). Teaching methods matter, because the method helps determine how a student will process and therefore learn.

Don't just teach, help your students learn.


While using one primary teaching technique is not necessarily bad, Block, Parris and Whitely (2008) suggest that teachers should utilize more than one mode of learning, because it “reinforces comprehension for all students” (p. 460). Block et al. also assert that when students actively receive information through a variety of methods they are likely to retain information at a more significant level than through passive learning experiences (p. 461). Elementary teachers often employ more than one method at a time when teaching poetry or music. Combining the spoken word with motions allows students to make connections and learn actively stimulating more than one area of the brain at a time.

Teachers should also consider the nature and learning level of the student when creating lesson plans. For example, younger student who have an active nature than adults may need more hands-on or kinesthetic activities to leave a lasting educational impact. While some subjects lend themselves naturally to one teaching technique, the effective teacher must learn to employ varied techniques to reach students of varied learning preferences. Fleming (2006) notes that “the modes are always mixed and it would be almost impossible to use only one mode for any teaching segment” (p. 23).

Vondracek (2009) warns the teacher to not plan his lesson too much around the learning preferences of his students, noting: "Some research shows that it is more important that the method of instruction is appropriate to the nature of the content than tailored to meet individual learning styles. For example, when students were confronted with instruction outside their preferred learning style, they perceived the task to be more difficult, and worked harder and learned more as a result (Olson 2006; Salomon 1984 as cited in Vondracek, p. 38-39)." Consider the findings of the Interactive Teaching Methods (2011) report that suggests multiple methods allows for “individual attention without individual interaction” (p. 18).

Helps for Identifying Your Learning Style

Instead of being fully focusing on one student or one learning preference at a time, Carson (2009) suggests that teachers thoughtfully construct learning activities that allow the largest number of students to learn best at one time (p. 100-111). Understanding the overall class preferences may require the teacher to conduct formal learning preference tests or may require the teacher to ask the “directions” question previously explained in this paper, or ask about the "lumper" and splitter preferences and ask for a raising of hands to indicate a student’s answer.'

While teaching methods matter, Vondracek (2009) suggests that teachers should match the method of instruction to the nature of the content, rather than trying to match the method to the preferred learning style (p. 38). When “students were confronted with instruction outside their preferred learning style they perceived the task to be more difficult, and worked harder and learned more as a result” notes Olson (2006) as cited in Vondracek (2009, p. 39).

Teachers should not rely upon the banking-method of teaching, varying teaching techniques allows students the opportunity to learn by themselves. Calik, Avas and Coll (2010) suggest letting students reapply their “newly acquired learning experience to other similar situation[s]” (p. 33). Consider for example, the Socratic lines of questions and discussion prompts, which allow students to connect theory to practice often. Allowing students to connect that they previously know to what they are learning often may yield a well-rounded group of students who grasp the content in entirety. For example, teachers should not just allow students to experience something; teachers should reinforce the lesson to help solidify comprehension.

Article Series Information

This article is part 2 in a 3-part series.

Check out the other 2 parts in this series by clicking HERE for part 1 and HERE for part 3.


Block, C., Parris, S. R., & Whiteley, C. S. (2008). CPMs: A kinesthetic comprehension strategy. Reading Teacher, 61(6), 460-470. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

Carson, D. (2009). Is style everything? Teaching that achieves its objectives. Cinema Journal, 48(3), 95-101. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

Fleming, N. (2009). 55 Strategies for Teaching. Retrieved from

Fleming, N. (2006). Teaching and learning styles: VARK strategies. The Digital Print and Copy Centre: New Zealand.

Interactive Teaching Methods. (2011). Science Teacher, 78(5), 17-18. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

Van Brummelen, H. (2002). Steppingstones to curriculum. Colorado Springs, Co: Purposeful Design Publications.

VARK: A guide to learning styles. (2011). The VARK Helpsheets. Retrieved on September 14 from

Vondracek, M. (2009). Teaching with multiple methods in mind. Science Teacher, 76(3), 38-41. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)