Adaptive Learning Styles for Changing Needs

Adaptive Learning Styles for Changing Needs

Grand Canyon University – NRS-429VN

Every individual has a learning style and some people have multiple learning styles. Learning styles can be described as the way someone processes information to learn, absorb, and apply the information delivered. The more one is exposed to learning experiences, they begin to identify their unique preferences of learning. Learning styles are broken down into four categories which are, visual, auditory, kinesthetic, and read/write. Most of the time, people learn by multiple modes rather just one (Whitney, (2018). Because teaching is a major aspect of nursing, the nurse should try to identify the learning style/styles of their patients and adapt an educational plan according to those styles. As stated in (Magdalena, 2015), “learning is an ongoing process in which knowledge and skills are shaped and developed by the nature of experiences in which the person is involved.” There will be circumstances when it is necessary for a change in learning style to be implemented depending on what the patient will need to learn.

After evaluation on the VARK website, this writer’s results were identified as “Multimodal (RK)”, which incorporates the style of read/write and kinesthetic. The read/write style of learning is a visual learning style. This individual prefers to read and write to process information, analyze the wording of information, organize information given into lists, rewrite in their own words what is heard or read, and “writes notes (often verbatim)” (VARK website). When auditory presentation is delivered, this individual sorts information into categories that belong together. This writer will also recite notes in repetition to process information and always organizes information by highlighting in a different color according to categories. This type of learner will carefully read what others have written to avoid missing small details. They also like to use quotes often to express an idea in its perfection. As stated on the VARK website, a quote of the read/write learner says, “If it is not in print, it may not exist” (VARK, 2019).

As another aspect of the Multifocal (RK) learning style is kinesthetic strategies. In this learning style the learner prefers to use demonstrations for presenting information, they talk about actual events, they use a hands-on approach to learning and participating as a part of a team. These individuals’ value being recognized for their personal experiences and they are drawn to others personal experiences and life stories. They prefer case studies to process information and prefer watching videos and demonstrations to learn tasks and usually watch them over as needed to comprehend. Learning by repetition is an important factor in this learning style. As a hands-on learner they learn by trial and error. To teach and present information to others they focus on real events in presenting and the use of examples. To make decisions, they use previous life lessons and experience as a guide. They teach to others by using case studies and try to get information across by focusing on details (VARK, 2019). They demonstrate not only the “how”, but the etiology of the information presented to their learners.

Since most individuals have specific learning styles, heavily dependent on whether the learned education is achieved is based on the presentation in the individuals learning style. Research has also shown that learning styles differ depending on male and female learners, and the read/write, kinesthetic learning style is shown to be more successful in achieving learned outcomes of education than auditory/visual learning styles (Bhagat, 2015). Also, studies have shown that compromising individual learning plans have not shown significant learning outcomes, and most people can adapt to the learning styles delivered to them in most situations. However, nurses as educators can help the patient adapt to the learning strategy needed for certain situations, especially when their learning style does not fit the task which they must learn to perform (Bhagat, 2015). It is important for a nurse as educator to identify the learning style of their patient for optimal learning to achieve the best outcome of their care because that individuals learning style is preferred. But if the patient has an audio/visual learning style, and the patient needs to learn self-administration of antibiotics through a PICC line or obtaining access of a Port-a-Cath, the patient must demonstrate correct and safe technique through a kinesthetic learning style of a more hands-on approach and therefore must adapt to that learning style for a favorable outcome.

It is said that achieving the best educational outcome for patients is by not focusing on any one learning style, and to incorporate a variable and multiple learning style approach is best. It is thought that patients do take a flexible approach to learning styles delivered in education and adapt well to different learning styles. It is best to focus on establishing a positive education goal that will benefit the patient in their long-term care and for the educator, the goal should be to develop flexibility in multiple learning disciplines to meet all instructional situations (Bhagat, 2015). When working with a group, it may be beneficial to use the multifocal learning style, however, when working with a limited number, the nurse can try varied approaches and assess which learning style the patient responds to the best. Depending on what the patient is learning, depends on what learning style will have to be implemented. As stated in (Magdalena, 2015), “learning style is not a stable trait, but a preference for learning that is slowly changing from one situation to another.”


VARK, A Guide to Learning Preferences, (2019). Retrieved from vark-questionnaire/

Whitney, S. (2018) Health Promotion: Health and Wellness Across the Continuum, Chapter 1. Retrieved from university/2018/health-promotion_health-and-wellness-across-the-continuum_1e.php

Bhagat, A., MD (2015). Students Awareness of Learning Styles and Their Perceptions to a Mixed Method Approach for Learning. International Journal of Applied Basis Medical Research, 5(1), S58-S65. doi: 10.4103/2229-516X.162281

Magdalena, S.M. (2015). The Relationship of Learning Styles, Learning Behaviour and Learning Outcomes at the Romanian Students. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, 180, 1667-1672. Retrieved from