Why I think VARK is pants ...

I could have used some more interesting anglo-saxon terms, but pants will suffice. The amount of times I have heard souls say 'I am a visual learner' and had to repress the urge to physically reenact Vaders Force Choke technique (using my kinaesthetic hands of course).

Unless you are blind, deaf and lack any paws at the end of your arms. You are in various proportions for various tasks and learning experiences a combination of all three.

Notions like 'I am a visual' learner grates, when the soul in question is taking on board something shared on BBC radio. I prefer auditory stimuli, don't we all. As someone with crap hearing, I equally need sound, words, etc as well as the practical experience and seeing what is going on. Often words (yep them things) set the context for our visual information.

It is interesting that sound engineers on Radio or a PodCast can easily create a audio soundscape and encourage the listener to devise their own mental picture of the situation they are describing. Maybe the power of language and dialogue supported with background sounds escaped the VARK'ist mindset.

Taking each one in isolation, I would agree with Fleming. Taking the idea as a broad construct, VARK is not incorrect. Using as a bloody science to encourage students to focus on what their own learning style is. Is in my humble (experienced) opinion a complete load of bollocks.

Some tasks prefer visual, some auditory others kinaesthetic and so on. It really depends on your experience of the recipient and the practice at hand.

If you are only ever auditory when it comes to becoming a master artisan (say a baker), personally I think you will be a bit rubbish. You need the others, supported by the occasional auditory input to develop your discipline.

In which case, what about olfactory learning? By the sense of smell, I am sure that there are some disciplines out there that need this. After all you would be a bit naff as a firefighter, baker, cook, florist, sommelier, perfumer etc.

So ... please if you are tempted to describe your own learning style. Come and have a chat with me, I will be happy to put you straight.


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