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VARK Learning Styles

Updated July 20, 2017

The VARK system assesses four learning modalities --- Visual, Aural, Read/Write and Kinesthetic --- in learners. It allows the respondent to identify her dominant mode of learning. Since most learning situations require the use of more than one modality, it also provides an assessment of how the respondent applies the four learning modalities in learning activities. VARK may applied to traditional classroom instruction, job training and sports.

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What is VARK?

The VARK questionnaire asks a series of questions to assist people with determining their preferred mode or modes of receiving and exchanging information in the context of learning. As noted, VARK is an acronym for four major categories of preferences --- Visual, Auditory, Read/Write and Kinesthetic.

Visual Learners

Learners who prefer this mode like to gather and process information using charts, diagrams, graphs, maps and other pictures or graphically based forms of communication. Media movies, PowerPoint presentations or videos are not included in the devices that assist visual learners in receiving and processing information.

Aural/Auditory Learners

Instruction that is spoken or heard facilitates learning for this type of learner. Lectures, recordings, discussions and e-mails are all mechanisms that allow people with this modality to discuss and explore concepts with others and work best for them in learning environments.

Read/Write Learners

People with a preference for the read/write modality learn best when receiving and returning information as words. The communication may be written or typed. Their tools of choice are dictionaries, the Internet, PowerPoint, written responses and text signs.

Kinesthetic Learners

These people learn best by doing activities that allow them to experience or practice the concept that they are attempting to learn. The key to effective learning for them is that the instruction offers them concrete opportunities to apply the information. Tools that best meet the needs of kinesthetic learners include demonstrations, simulations, videos and case studies.


While a person may have a preference for a particular mode or a dominant mode, multiple modes are often used in learning situations. The VARK questionnaire identifies four scores which correlate to the way a person applies the VARK learning modalities in their learning activities. The assessment identifies four types of learners: those who prefer a single mode when learning; bimodal learners; tri-modal learners; and those that prefer to employ all four modes when learning.


The VARK questionnaire assists learners with identifying their learning modality. It also provides a basis for an individual to adapt their learning modality as appropriate or needed. There are books, software and further assessments available for people who want to learn more about their preferred modes of learning. These tools help individuals learn how exploit their strengths or adapt to different learning situations.

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About the Author

Desiré Hendricks' writing career spans over 10 years. Her credits include pieces in "The Kansas City Star" and online at various websites. She teaches yoga and holds the following certifications through the YMCA's training program: Healthy Lifestyle Principles, Foundations of Group Exercise and a Yoga Certification registered with the American Council on Exercise. Hendricks graduated from Yale with a B.A. in film studies.

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