VARK Learning Styles and Academic Exploration
As an academic advisor, it is important for me to recognize that a student’s learning style can have an influence on how they want to explore potential majors and careers. Here are some brief examples of how VARK (Visual, Auditory, Read/write/digital, and Kinesthetic) learning styles can be used to create affective plans for exploring academic majors, jobs, and careers.
Visual learners may benefit from creating flowcharts, graphs, or other image rich documents to help them outline the exploration process. It may be helpful to help them visualize the types of classes they enjoy, the jobs they can see themselves doing, and the things they are looking for in a major or career. Job shadowing or visiting a specific class that they have an initial interest in may also help.
Auditory Learnerswould benefit from listening to lectures, podcasts, radio shows on topics that they might want to study further. They might find talking with a professor in particular departments and professionals in certain fields particularly helpful in their search. Reflecting with others about the information they are gathering and how they are going to apply the information will also be helpful for auditory learners.
Reading, Writing/Digital Learners will likely enjoy exploring the college catalog more than other learners. They will gather a great deal of assistance by simply reading about the requirements for different degree programs and writing notes on the things that interest them the most. It may be helpful for digital learners to create class schedules for majors of interest, visit departmental websites and read blogs from student and staff members in specific majors, and write outlines for their review and analysis. Reading journal articles from fields of interest may also be quite helpful to digital learners.
Kinesthetic Learners may find job shadows, lab courses, internships, study aboard opportunities or getting involved in a campus group helpful to their exploration process.
In addition to advising individual students based on these learning styles it is also important to design major and career decision making courses with various activities that will benefit students with any and all combinations of these learning preferences.
For more information on the VARK Learning Styles addressed above, click here