Usefulness of identifying learning preferences of first year medical students using VARK

Shubhada Gade, Suresh Chari


Students have preferences in the ways they receive & process information. The VARK questionnaire identifies students preferences for learning as visual (V), auditory (A), reading-writing (R) and kinesthetic (K). We administered VARK questionnaire to first year medical students to determine their learning preferences at NKPSIMS&RC, Nagpur. The results showed that 65% students preferred multiple modes (bimodal 48%, trimodal 12.8%, quadrimodal 4%) and 35% students preferred single mode of learning. In unimodal category, 9.25% preferred visual, 7.75% preferred auditory, 9% preferred read-write and 9.13 % preferred learning by using all their senses (kinesthetic). Results of the study were shared with the faculty and they implemented changes to suit the multimodal learning style. When the feedback was obtained from teachers and students after four months, 80% teachers found VARK information useful. 72% students remember the sensitization lecture but only 20% used the information. To conclude, teaching methodologies should be tailored to suit the learning preferences of learners. This can be aided by assessing the learning preferences of medical students. Knowledge of their learning style preferences will also assist the students in incorporating appropriate learning strategies to enhance the process of self directed learning.

Keywords: VARK, Learning preferences, Medical students.

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