The VARK Model of Learning Styles for Students
With the shift of the studying dynamic from practical to online, most students have lost interest and tend to ignore the importance of their classes. After being accustomed to on-campus learning for so long, it is understandable if they are unable to focus their energy in an online setting. The online system brings the opportunity for a lot more distractions and young students have very limited attention spans that can be breached without effort. The new teaching dynamic is hard for the students to adjust to, especially if their learning style isn’t addressed.
Varied coursework along with the implementation of digital tools is hard for the students to grasp initially. As the face-to-face interaction is limited, it is hard for the teachers to gain the attention of the students. TO tackle such issues, the learning style theory was popularized in 1992 by Fleming and Mills with the introduction of the VARK model. This model identifies the four different learning styles that students prefer and how they can improve their output tremendously. For example, a visual learner will learn a lot better by repeatedly looking at visuals than just memorizing words orally.
This model has had its fair share of criticisms but its significance cannot be downplayed. Institutions all over the globe are using these learning styles to improve the education dynamic for students and teachers alike. Considering the popularity of these styles, it is extremely hard to deny the impact this model has made in the educational sector of the world. Sphero is one such platform that focuses on the various learning styles for students and implements various exercises that can help the teachers divert the attention of their students on productive tasks. The following four styles are the most commonly understood and practice learning styles across the globe on all levels of education.
1. Visual Learning Style
As the name suggests, visual learners when can get a chance to learn something by looking at it. They are excellent at analyzing and observing things like pictures, diagrams, comparative charts, and data described in these visuals. It helps them break down a concept and learn it in order of importance. This helps them retain the concept as well as its visual representation. Visual learners are often easy to identify as you can easily find them doodling, drawing pictures, diagrams, or other visually aesthetic figures to enforce their retention of the taught concept.
The best method to implement for visual learners is to provide a visual representation of the concept at hand. As you teach on a whiteboard or a smartboard, make sure that whatever you write stays on long enough for them to grasp it mentally. The additional notes with figures and diagrams will help them retain the knowledge as well. Sphero has introduced a visual learning activity where the student is given a chance to show off their aptitude by accessing Sphero’s Draw canvas. They can draw shapes that represent code and then execute it with the Sphero robot. In short, they can draw their robot that will showcase their programming skills.
2. Auditory Learning Style
Auditory learners also comprise a major portion of any classroom. They excel at focusing their attention on the oral lecture being delivered and can make out the concepts better than their peers. They can easily be determined as they are the students in the class that are inspired and eager to listen to any words that come out of the presenter. They have a natural aptitude for coming up with queries and taking notes regularly. The auditory learning style requires you to repeatedly enforce knowledge unto the students by engaging them in conversations and answering their queries. Sphero adds a unique dynamic to this type of learning by introducing new activities inspired by the “Back to the future” movies.
One such activity involves helping the students recreate the DeLorean time machine from “Back to the future”. In addition to this, there are other activities such as the bubble flute which allows the students to create bubbles with a few simple materials. This allows the students to experiment with sound while learning something new at every step.
3. Reading and Writing Learning Style
The majority of the students in any classroom or educational setting prefer the reading and writing learning style. They are drawn to reading novels, stories, essays, articles and producing their very own. They are very creative and produce written content regularly as a passion. With their exceptional research skills, they can dig deep into almost any topic and produce a version of it suited to their environment. The best way to enforce their learning is to provide them with relevant reading course material and involve them in reading and writing practices.
Sphero implements unique actives such as the bridge challenge to enforce the learning for such students. They are made to read about various types of bridges and the architecture that goes into building them. Then they come up with a miniature version of this bridge that a Sphero robot can drive across.
4. Kinesthetic Learning Style
Kinesthetic learners are the most unique of the bunch. For them, the best way to learn anything is by practically acting it out. They are adept at using all of their senses while learning and any physical activity help them retain the concept efficiently. You can identify these students quite easily as they have a hard time sitting still in a long lecture and often require breaks to regain their focus.
Sphero has an activity specially designed for such types of students. The long jump exercise engages the students in a long jump activity. They are taught about the long jump, how more distance can be covered, and how they can use knowledge to maximize it. They can then perform the long jump and create an adjustable ramp for these practices. This will ultimately challenge their mind and body and they will be able to retain knowledge efficiently.