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Last Updated on August 18, 2020

7 Characteristics of an Aural Learner

7 Characteristics of an Aural Learner

No matter how many times someone tells me how to spell a word, I can’t seem to process it. They might as well be the teacher on Charlie Brown, saying, “Wah wah wah wah wah.” If I’m ever going to have a chance of understanding what they’re saying, I need them to write it out. I need to see how it’s spelled and how it looks on the page. Only then will I be able to process the information. In other words, I’m definitely not what you’d call an auditory or aural learner (a person who prefers to hear things to be able to process information better).

Only a Preference

It’s important to keep in mind that learning styles are nothing but preferences.

The idea that some people are visual, aural, kinesthetic, or read/write learners began in the 1990s in New Zealand when Neil Fleming developed a questionnaire to measure how people preferred to process information. Known as VARK, this questionnaire is still used up to this day to categorize people’s learning style preferences.[1]

Though Fleming’s learning style gained popularity, Polly Hussman and Valerie Dean O’Loughlin found no link between people’s preferred learning style and actual learning outcomes.[2] Meanwhile, Abby R. Knoll, Hajime Otani, Reid L. Skeel, and K. Roger Van Horn confirmed these findings in another study.

Preferred learning styles had no impact on how well participants could recall information.[3] It may be true that people like to gain information in various ways, but it’s not true that using a chosen learning style improves learning outcomes.

Nevertheless, it’s still clear that people (myself included) have preferred ways to receive new information. I definitely like to see things in writing. So, it’s still a worthwhile pursuit to unpack what the characteristics of an aural learner are and how someone who prefers aural input can take advantage of that preference.

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7 Characteristics of an Aural Learner

Let’s look at the 7 characteristics of an aural learner:

1. Aural Learners Prefer to Hear Information

This might seem obvious, but aural learners prefer to hear things aloud. If you find yourself asking for auditory information, you just might be one.

If this sounds like you, download audiobooks and listen to podcasts. Try these 16 Best Podcasts on Motivation to Help You Reach Your Goals. You might also enjoy attending lectures and reading things out loud to better understand the content.

2. Aural Learners Gravitate Towards Audiobooks

Aural learners might also gravitate towards audiobooks, which are sources of auditory information at their finest. There are no words to read or pictures to look at, after all. If you enjoy audiobooks and podcasts and easily follow along, you could be an aural learner.

Don’t feel ashamed if people say that listening to an audiobook isn’t “real reading.” Learning is learning, whether you’re listening or reading.

3. Aural Learners Close Their Eyes to Focus on Auditory Information

When someone closes their eyes to better understand something, they might be an aural learner. They do it mostly to block out other learning methods and focus on auditory inputs.

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If you think that’s you, try it out. Close your eyes to get rid of visual stimuli and see how it affects your learning.

4. Aural Learners Talk and Move Lips to Process Information

You might also be able to spot an aural learner when they talk to themselves or mouthing the words as they read since aural learners prefer hearing new information.

If you think you’re an aural learner, crack a book and read along. That way, you’ll turn reading and studying into an auditory experience.

5. Aural Learners Remember People’s Names

Unlike me, aural learners tend to be good at learning people’s names. We usually hear instead of seeing them, so aural learners are at an advantage when it comes to learning new names.

You may boost your name-learning skills by repeating people’s names five times to make sure that you remember them well.

6. Aural Learners Do Not Like Noisy Learning Environments

It might seem counterintuitive, but being an aural learner doesn’t mean that they like a noisy environment. If someone prefers to hear information, they don’t appreciate listening to competing noises.

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It’s the same for a visual learner. Just because I appreciate a chart or graph, it’s false to think that I like to be bombarded by visuals.

If people prefer aural learning, they might be attracted to clear, audible sounds and struggle with auditory distractions.

Aim to reduce distractions in your environment, regardless of your preferred learning style. Find a quiet place to study without the sound of traffic, phones, and televisions disturbing you.

7. Aural Learners Might Ignore Visual Representations of Information

Lastly, an aural learner might not even notice or pay attention to visual information. If charts and graphs don’t make things clearer for you, it is highly possible that audible information serves you better.

And that’s okay! Go ahead and listen to as much information as you can. Still, don’t completely ignore the visuals. After that, go back and use the other learning styles to reinforce what you’re learning. Know your blind spot and make sure to access all methods since people do learn better and retain more data when they use multiple learning styles, regardless of their preference.

How Does an Aural Learner Learn?

Because learning styles are only a matter of choice and not actually a way to improve learning outcomes, aural learners learn like everyone else. Once you realize that, it’s okay to start with that preference, whether it’s aural, visual, kinesthetic, or read/write. I know I still always ask people to write things down for me, and I prefer reading over anything else. It’s not a problem — it feels more natural for me to do so.

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If you’re an aural learner, you may try listening to audiobooks and podcasts first. You can even turn on an audiobook while reading the same book, considering combining learning styles helps people retain new information.

People should try to match the learning task with the learning style. Read: context matters. In case you learn by listening, but you need to analyze graphs, auditory information is probably not the best way to go. If you prefer visuals to learn your lines in a play, though, aural inputs might actually be more helpful for you. And if you favor a read/write learning style but are practicing a new TikTok dance, you can read all the books in the world and still not be able to learn the moves. Hence, always think of what you’re learning about before you decide on your learning method.

Furthermore, it’s important to limit distractions, regardless of your preferred learning style. Whether you’re an aural, visual, kinesthetic, or read/write learner, you need to turn off your gadgets and study in a quiet environment. I’d even suggest getting noise-canceling headphones to block external noises. The more conducive to learning your environment is, the better your chances of learning will be.

Final Thoughts

Self-reflection is an essential part of the learning process. After trying out a learning style, reflect on what worked and what didn’t. What are the results? Is there room for improvement? Did the learning style fit what you’re trying to learn?

It’s a lifelong process to figure out how your brain processes new information best, so make sure to reflect on yourself. Don’t just keep doing the same thing repeatedly because you’re an aural learner. Try new learning styles or combinations of styles to see what works in different scenarios.

Self-reflection builds self-awareness, which is crucial for improving learning outcomes over time. Unfortunately, there’s no magic bullet for that.

But if you prefer aural learning, start with auditory information, mix things up with other learning styles, consider which ones are suitable for what you’re trying to learn, reduce distractions, and become as reflective about your learning as possible. This way, you’ll be starting with your preferences and creating a learning system that will continue to improve over time.

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Featured photo credit: Mimi Thian via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Clay Drinko

Clay Drinko is an educator and the author of PLAY YOUR WAY SANE (January 2021 Simon & Schuster)

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Last Updated on September 24, 2020

Learning Methods to Help You Learn Effectively and Easily

Learning Methods to Help You Learn Effectively and Easily

You’re never too old to learn, and this isn’t just some fancy statement; this is many people’s motto in life. If you agree, there are various learning methods to help you ensure that you continue to learn day in and day out.

We have all been learning since childhood—our parents teach us morals, our teachers teach us math, society teaches us acceptance, our work teaches us how to do our job, etc. Even if you’re 70, life has a whole new book of things to teach you; you just need to have the heart and willingness to learn.

What you learn today will always benefit your current and future self. The question is, with such limited time in life, how can we learn effectively?

In this article, I’ll introduce to you the essential learning methods and some of the best ways to learn.

The Best Ways to Learn

There are so many different ways of learning, and here, I’ve handpicked some of the best ways that will definitely help you in being an effective learner[1].

Here Are The Best Learning Methods for Retention

    1. Your Comfort Zone

    For most people, staying in their own comfort zone opens their minds and helps them retain information. For instance, many learn and retain information when they’re taking notes on a piece of paper; others learn by watching videos and documentaries relevant to the topic.

    By finding out how you’re comfortable learning will surely help you in effectively retaining new information, and you will remember it for a longer period of time.

    2. Learning Through Play

    Just like children learning actively, you can learn through play. This doesn’t literally mean building blocks out of plastic Lego, but by implementing what you have learned[2]. If you’ve just learned a new way to make quiche, the best way of making sure you know it properly and remember it is by immediately making it at home.

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    3. Pass That Information on

    If you’ve learned something, avoid passive learning, and, instead, pass the information on to someone else.

    When you go through what you’ve learned and are explaining the process to someone else through this teaching method, you will learn and remember better.

    One study found that teaching information is so effective in introducing it to our long-term memory because it forces us to retrieve that information over and over again[3].

    In classrooms, there is a frequent activity of dividing students into groups, and one of them explains to other classmates what the day’s lecture was about. This not only helps the speaker understand concepts better, but when other classmates are being reinforced with the lesson, they also remember better.

    4. Rote Learning Is a Big NO

    Many people try to memorize word by word what they have been taught, as if they were sitting in a written exam. Teachers discourage rote learning in students as well because by only memorizing some words, the goal isn’t met. The main point here is to truly understand and connect the dots of what you’ve learned.

    The generation today has grown up with computers and is used to getting all the information needed at the click of a button, which means they don’t really absorb the true meaning of what they’re learning.

    Rote learning is just like that. You just pick up the information from somewhere and learn it word for word, which doesn’t really help you understand anything, only to memorize.

    Learning is all about being able to express what you have understood about a particular concept. It is being able to give your own opinion about a certain event, instead of just knowing the facts. Somewhere along the line, we do want to learn new things, but some of us have the attention span of a goldfish or simply don’t know the smart learning methods.

    Some people may be more receptive to one kind of method, and some to another. A smart person would try and find out which method of learning is best suited to them, and use that to enhance their learning process. The following learning methods will be helpful for you.

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    Types of Learning Methods

    Essentially, there are 7 types of learning methods that researchers have compiled over time. If one resonates with you, it’s likely that it’s your preferred learning method.

    Visual

    This type of learning requires visual material to understand. This could be in the form of videos, graphics, and images. This method helps people in visually understanding what they see.

    You may be this type of learner if you often imagine faces to remember someone’s name, use landmarks to give directions, or need to write down information to remember it.

    Aural

    This kind of learning style uses audio like music and sounds to understand. You may like this learning method if you often remember information after lectures or are good at memorizing the words to songs.

    Verbal

    This method is usually for people who like to speak and narrate their stories in order to learn. This can be done through scripted speeches, impromptu narrations, or even just daily conversations.

    Logical

    Many people like learning through logic; they won’t understand a concept if they’re just spoon-fed it.

    They want proper reasoning to why and how something happened for them to properly learn something.

    These people are often very good at forming arguments, problem-solving, and participating in debates.

    Social

    This is when people learn better when they’re divided into groups and are with other people. These social groups help expand their horizons and give them confidence to ask questions and solve problems.

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    Solitary

    This learning style is usually best for people who prefer to learn alone in a confined place that has no distractions whatsoever. They are either easily distracted with other people.

    Physical

    This is a learning technique where people learn through physical acts, like using their hands or simply by the sense of touch.

    This technique is used when a child actively participates in order to learn. For example, to help them understand what “fluffy” means, they are asked to touch a cotton cushion or a hairy cat. This is how children learn and understand better.

    However, many adults learn with this learning method as well. If you enjoy building or designing things, this may be your preferred learning method.

    What types of learning methods suit you better? You can find out in this article: How This Learning Style Quiz Can Help You Make the Most of Your Life

    In order to support any kind of learning listed above, you have to be physically fit and healthy. Your mind and body need to be nurtured in order for any kind of learning method to be effective. Here are some of the things that can be done on a daily basis to maintain a receptive mind and body.

    Habits to Help You Learn

    To be an effective listener, you also have to be able to retain that information. People learn new things every day, but only a portion of those people are able to remember what they learned by the end of the day.

    There are some tried and tested home remedies that have worked like a charm for people who are looking to enhance their memory.

    Sleep More

    An active brain is one that sleeps almost 8-10 hours a day. If you’re overworked and sleep for barely five hours, there are chances that your brain needs rest to retain information.

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    But if you’re somebody who sleeps for 11-15 hours a day, you may just be too lazy and need to engage in healthy activities to keep your brain active.

    Eat Healthy

    Include lots of protein and Omega-3s in your diet. Drink lots of water and generally stay away from refined carbs.

    You don’t have to quickly switch over to salads, but just generally try to adapt to a healthier eating pattern. Limit the use of alcohol and caffeine because they slow down your brain, causing a hindrance in your learning journey.

    Here are 15 Brain Foods You Should Be Eating Regularly to Keep Your Mind Sharp.

    Socialize

    By meeting new people every day, you’re not only giving your brain a chance to open up, but you’re also having your brain exercise by getting new information. Talking to people and engaging in daily conversations helps the flow of information.

    Do Activities That Challenge Your Brain

    If your brain hasn’t yet been exposed to challenges where you really have to think and work your mind, you may not be an effective learner, despite engaging in the above learning methods. There are many activities that increase your motor skills, like puzzles, mathematical questions, or even solving crosswords in your daily newspaper. You can also try these 11 Brain Training Apps to Train Your Mind and Improve Memory.

    When your brain is active and running, you possess a better chance of learning new things and actually retaining that information.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning has been a safe haven for so many people, whether it’s about learning to cook a complicated dish for a family gathering or simply about sewing a button on a shirt.

    The best among us are people that don’t let anything get in the way of their learning process; these people make it their life motto to wake up every day and learn at least one new thing before going to bed. And these people are all around us; we are these people.

    The knowledge we gain today can benefit our career, relationships, and our everyday life, so get started now.

    More on Utilizing the Learning Methods

    Featured photo credit: Sarah Noltner via unsplash.com

    Reference

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