Meet the VARK

VARK = The Four Different Types of Learners Who Will Be in Your Audience.

Are you VARK-ing up the right tree when preparing your presentations? By that I mean: One size does not fit all and neither does a learning method. The four sensory modalities used for learning information are Visual, Aural/Auditory, Read/Write, and Kinesthetic, which add up to the VARK acronym. (You may have already figured this out if you are a Read/Write learner.)

To make sure your presentation is as effective as possible, incorporate all aspects of the VARK modalities into your prezi. Read on for further explanations on VARK, along with easy-to-apply suggestions for your presentation.

Visual: Charts, diagrams, graphs, circles, and arrows. The visual learner favors these devices over words to grasp new information. Note that the visual modality does not include photos, artwork, or formatting options such as whitespace, patterns, and shapes to emphasize information.

The best way to engage visual learners is through, no surprise here, charts, diagrams, graphs, and the like. Use these to illustrate the relationships among your concepts.

Auditory: Hearing information is the best way for the auditory learner to digest new data. Listening beats reading or seeing new material.

To include the auditory learner in your prezi, incorporate a Q&A component so the audience can repeat information out loud. If possible, creating song or ditty would be helpful, too.

Read/Write: Ever hear someone say they “think better with a pen in their hand”? Well, that’s a read/write learner. Working with words and text is their #1 preferred method of learning. This learner typically takes notes during a presentation.

A pop quiz as part of your prezi is a perfect way to reinforce a read/write learner’s knowledge, as are bullet-point handouts and areas to take notes.

Kinesthetic: These are movers and doers. Kinesthetic learners are hands-on. They are the ones who toss aside the instruction manual and “just figure out” how to assemble the 1,329 pieces of wood and hardware from Ikea into an office chair.

Getting your audience out of their seats is one way to engage kinesthetic learners. Role-playing is a good example. Writing is another way to engage kinesthetic learners.

Keep in mind that the VARK Modalities are not cut and dried, nor black and white. There is often overlap and gray areas. Some people may have the ability to adjust to all four modalities, while someone else can learn effectively from only one. The best way to make sure you have your audience covered is to include all modalities in your presentation.

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