Preferred Learning Styles

Preferred Learning Styles

Grand Canyon University: NRS429VN

Preferred Learning Styles

As a nurse, education to patients is one of the main things done every day. Whether it is teaching a patient about their illness, about a med, or even educating them on lifestyle changes, it is important to understand how the patient will retain this information. In order for your patient to learn, you must have a well written objective as well as know how they are going to retain the information.


Educating a patient starts with an objective. What is the patient supposed to learn and what is the goal of this education you are providing? “A well written objective provides a mechanism for a measurable and observable evaluation of learning” (Mississippi Nurses Foundation, 2009). According to Kizlik (2016), learning objectives should include three things: conditions, behavioral verbs, and criteria. Conditions are “statements that describe the conditions under which the behavior is to be performed” (Kizlik, 2016). A behavioral verb is “an action word that connotes an observable student behavior” (Kezlik, 2016). Just like everything we do, to be able to create an objective, a verb or action must take place. What is the patient going to achieve? The criteria is “a statement that specifies how well the student must perform the behavior” (Kezlik, 2016). What is the goal going to be and what is the expected outcome?

Styles of Learning

Once the learning objective is decided and built, the nurse must then understand how their patient learns best. Are they visual learners? Do they prefer reading things to learn? What about just listening or actually practicing things with their hands? Not everyone learns the same, so in order for the information you are giving to your patient be retained, you must first know how they learn easiest. Visual learners like to see things in things such as graphs, charts, maps, spider diagrams, labelled diagrams, and all symbolic arrows, circles, and hierarchies (Carlson, 2016). Visual learners are looking at trends. They compare one thing to another. Auditory learners learn best by spoken words. These learners understand things better by things such as lectures, listening to tapes, speaking to others in a group, or even through email and phones. A read/writing learner sees things in text books or handouts and learns that way. They can pick up a book or magazine and comprehend what is being taught. Kinesthetic learners retain information by actually performing and practicing the act. An example could be giving insulin. If the patient is a kinesthetic learner, they would watch the nurse give insulin and then perform it themselves.

VARK Questionnaire

The VARK questionnaire was created for people to understand how they learn best. The questionnaire asks simple questions where each answer represents a different learning style. After taking the VARK questionnaire, kinesthetic learning had the highest score. Learning by participation is easier because you are actually doing what is being taught. What better way to learn than doing it yourself? If someone is always doing something for you, there is no point in learning how to do it. This is the easiest way to learn something if you are physically going to be performing a task. Reading and visuals may be helpful when used parallel with the kinesthetic learning style. By incorporating both of these along side kinesthetic learning, it can be used as a guide to perform the task. A patient may learn easier this way which may be referred to as a mixed learning style. They learn by incorporating a little bit of all the styles.


Each person you meet will have a different learning style. As nurses, educating your patient needs to revolve around how they learn. What sort of language can you use? Do they like to perform things or listen to instruction? With the VARK questionnaire, this could be a simple and quick thing to give your patient to better understand their learning style. How they learn may be different than how you learn. When teaching your patient, it is important for them to understand how it is they are to care for themselves.


Carlson, Virleen M. (2016).The VARK Questionnaire. Retrieved April 09, 2016, from


Kizlik, B. (2016, February 28). How to Write Learning Objectives that Meet Demanding Behavioral

Criteria. Retrieved April 09, 2016, from

The Nurses Foundation. (2016). Behavioral Objectives. Retrieved April 09, 2016, from