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Published on January 6, 2021

6 Strategies For Auditory Learners To Learn Effectively

6 Strategies For Auditory Learners To Learn Effectively

Auditory learners learn best when information is received through sound. Instead of reading books, they prefer to listen to other people talking. But they also learn well when explaining themselves and when participating in group chats and conversations.

Today, there is a wealth of great opportunities for auditory learners to learn effectively.

In this article, I am going to reveal 6 strategies that will make auditory learners learn fast and enable them to get a solid understanding of the materials presented to them.

Before we dive into the learning strategies, let’s just take a look at what the most common learning styles are.

In a study done in 1992 by Neil D. Fleming and Coleen E. Mills, the acronym VARK was used to describe the 4 major learning styles people usually have:[1]

  • V – Visual learners (learn best with diagrams, pictures, and written notes)
  • A – Auditory learners (learn best through sound)
  • R – Reading/Writing learners (learn best by reading books and doing research)
  • K – Kinaestethic learners (learn best by doing)

People don’t always fall neatly into one of these categories, but often, people prefer one learning style over the others.

The VARK theory seems to have more to do with personal preferences rather than learning styles being intrinsically linked to someone’s genes. If you are someone who digests information better through sound than via images, you can still learn well with images or by doing activities. But if you want to learn as effectively and thoroughly as possible, you should use learning techniques that cater to your particular taste when it comes to digesting information.

Some people prefer reading, while others prefer listening to audiobooks. We don’t necessarily have the scientific answer to exactly answer why that’s the case, but that’s not necessary either. We only have to accept what our unique preferences are and use the appropriate techniques for our particular tastes.

Now, with some background information out of the way, let’s dive straight into the 6 learning strategies for auditory learners.

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1. Make Audio Recordings Instead of Taking Notes

Regardless of our learning style, we all need to store the information somewhere so we can access it later. When it comes to taking notes, auditory learners might benefit more from audio recordings instead of taking written notes.

These could be recordings of yourself explaining a concept you’re learning, reading a passage out loud from a book, or a recording of someone else explaining something, perhaps from a lecture or presentation.

Instead of filling in a notebook or spending hours typing on a computer keyboard, you can build a depository of audio clips. To make this work as well as a colorful Mind Map does for a visual learner, you need to make it easy for yourself to go back to your audio notes in the future when you need to access and review the information. It’s essential that you keep your audio notes organized.

Evernote is a great tool for this purpose. With Evernote, it’s easy to build up a database of recordings you have made and to keep them organized. Another great thing about Evernote is that it has a built-in voice recorder. This saves you the hassle of having to import voice recordings manually.

Make sure you label each recording with a description of what it contains. If you don’t, it will be too difficult to access afterward. Even though you might learn best with audio notes, it’s an awful way of organizing information. Written notes are still easier to look through to find something you’re looking for. You can speed-read and skim through the text, but you can’t speed-listen to or skim through audio clips.

This is why I think auditory learners still benefit a lot from making short written notes and even visual Mind Maps to get an overview of the topic they’re learning and to see the bigger picture.

So, to sum this strategy up: make written notes to organize information and get an overview of the whole subject. And use audio recordings when you go deeper into each topic to gain an understanding of the material.

2. Use Speech-to-Text Software

Auditory learners are often good at talking and explaining, and sometimes less good at expressing their thoughts on paper. Because of this, they might enjoy the process of taking written notes orally.

There are quite a few apps around today that let you speak into your phone and transform the words into texts as you speak. It might take a little bit of practice to get 100% comfortable with this way of taking notes. But with not too much effort, you can write text quite quickly using this method.

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I often do this myself when taking notes. Sometimes, when writing an article, I write the first rough draft by speaking into my phone. It’s much faster than typing, and I would have needed to go back and edit the text again if I was typing anyway, so it does save me some time.

I use an app called SpeechTexter for this. It’s free to download. The main reason why I like this app is that you can program it to insert specific symbols with custom voice commands. That way, you can easily format your text entirely with your voice and insert things like new paragraphs, commas, colons, etc. as you dictate.

You can also copy or export the text easily and paste it into your favorite note-taking app. The major benefit of this is that it is perfect for auditory learners. You can capture your thoughts directly from your mind with your voice instead of having to pass them through a “slow typing speed” filter.

If you’re a slow typer, the speech-to-text method will make the process of capturing thoughts into texts a lot smoother. It also makes it easier for you to sustain your train of thought. Straight after you have recorded, you can go back and correct any words, punctuation, and formatting that the software didn’t pick up.

3. Podcasts and Audiobooks

Access to high-quality podcasts and audiobooks have exploded in recent years. And that’s great news for auditory learners. Podcasts and audiobooks aren’t always good strategies if you want to learn something specific to a course you’re taking. But they are great sources for general information and learning.

You should check out services such as Blinkist and Audible. If you’re an auditory learner, you’re doing yourself a disservice if you’re not taking advantage of them.

Podcasts and audiobooks are also a great way to save time. Listen to podcasts and audiobooks while cooking, hanging clothes up for drying, cleaning your house, or while doing any other tasks that don’t require your full attention.

4. Listen First, Make Notes Afterward

If you’re listening to a talk, masterclass, lecture, or presentation, you should focus all your attention on listening to the lecturer. Taking notes require a lot of attention, and if you focus on that, you might fall out of the whole thought-journey the lecturer is taking you through.

As an auditory learner, you will gain a lot more from the event if you spend all your energy trying to understand what the speaker is saying.

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Auditory learners are likely to remember a lot of the details that are being said in the lecture, so this is a good strategy for you. The more intently you listen and focus during the lecture, the more likely you are to remember it. If you also try to make visual images in your head while listening, you will remember the information even better.

Straight after the lecture, go through it all in your head, recall all the key points, and write down as much as you can. Or better—record it and store it in your note-taking app.

This does not only work better in terms of learning, but it also forces you to train your ability to recall information. After you have written it down, you must use the information. Think about it regularly, and connect it to information that is already part of you.

This is the same strategy that allows the famous psychologist Jordan Peterson to remember so much of what he’s reading:

“People ask me how it is that I can remember all the things that I talk about extemporaneously when I’m lecturing, and the reason for that is because I’ve thought them through. … It’s kind of like I’m attaching little memory hooks to it in five different ways. And then I’ve got it. It’s part of me.”[2]

5. Explain It Out Loud to Yourself

This is one of the best and easiest methods for auditory learners to learn effectively. Formulating something in your own words is how you solidify your understanding of it. If you do this, you also take advantage of the Feynman Technique which is one of the best learning techniques that exist.

The Feynman Technique is a learning technique that Nobel prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman developed and used himself.

This is how it works:

Pretend that you are explaining a concept that you’re learning to a child. Identify the parts of your explanation that you’re struggling with communicating clearly, and take note of gaps in your understanding of the concept. Then, read up about the concept again and try to simplify the explanation one more time. Repeat this until you can confidently explain the concept in simple terms—so simple that a 6-year-old can understand it.

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To explain something in simple terms you have to understand it really well yourself first. When you try to explain something you don’t fully understand, your explanation is likely to be quite vague. A child wouldn’t be able to understand that.

To explain something in your own words, you are forced to really think about it. This is why the Feynman Technique is so effective. It forces you to grasp every single little detail of it since that is what is needed to explain it in very simple terms.

“If you can’t explain it to a six-year-old, you don’t understand it yourself.” —Albert Einstein

6. Engage in Conversation With Others

Auditory learners are often more comfortable participating in group conversations than people with other learning styles. Talking about the topic you are learning in a group with others will also deepen your understanding of it.

This has very similar effects as the previous strategy I explained. Explaining what you’re learningwhether to yourself or othersis one of the best ways to solidify the knowledge in yourself.

Talking to real people is often even better than when you’re just practicing explaining something for yourself. When you’re in a group conversation, you are under pressure to formulate your thoughts and articulate yourself well. And this really puts your understanding of the topic to the test.

There is another reason why engaging in conversation with others would help. Hearing others explaining something in their own words can help you understand the subject better, especially if you find it difficult to read about it.

Bottom Line

As you can see, there are plenty of methods and techniques that allow auditory learners to learn effectively. With all the technological tools we have today, we can almost say that we’re living in the golden age of auditory learners.

However, viewing something from multiple different angles and perspectives have several times been confirmed by science as an excellent way of grasping a topic thoroughly.[3]

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So, even though you’re an auditory learner, you will get the best learning experience if you use a range of different techniques, including those that are not directly targeted for auditory learners.

More Tips on How to Learn Effectively

Featured photo credit: Start Digital via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Sindre Kaupang

Entrepreneur and filmmaker, founder of Productive Headspace and Beyond Music

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Last Updated on June 1, 2021

How to Use the Learning Style Quiz to Accelerate Your Learning

How to Use the Learning Style Quiz to Accelerate Your Learning

If you’ve ever taken a learning style quiz, you know that the idea is to find your most prominent learning style. The question then becomes: what do you do with that information?

A textbook definition of learning styles is:[1]

“Characteristic cognitive, effective, and psycho-social behaviors that serve as relatively stable indicators of how learners perceive, interact with, and respond to the learning environment.”

That’s a fancy way of saying that different individuals interact with their learning environment in different ways. You’ll often see learning styles in conjunction with higher education and other types of cognitive learning courses. The theory is that, if the teacher is aware of the various ways in which people perceive information, they can differentiate the instruction to meet those needs.

To the casual learner, understanding your learning style can help you find the best way to learn new information. There are seven different learning styles, and everybody uses a little of each one (on a sliding scale).

In this article we will talk about how many different learning styles there are (and what they mean), get you to try the learning style quiz, and find out how to use your specific learning style to improve your life.

The 7 Learning Styles

The following is an overview of the various learning styles[2]:

1. Visual / Spatial

A visual learner thinks in pictures. They prefer having illustrations, pictures, and other types of images to help form a mental image of what they are learning. Visual learners are typically spatial thinkers.

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2. Aural / Auditory-Musical

An aural learner learns through music and rhythm. While actual music isn’t necessarily required to reach an aural learner, it certainly is more effective.

3. Verbal / Linguistic

A verbal learner prefers using words, both in speech and in reading. A person with this learning style might prefer a good lecture or textbook to more visual and auditory styles.

4. Physical / Kinesthetic

A physical learner prefers using their body, hands, and sense of touch. A person with this learning style is more of a “hands-on” learner who prefers to learn by doing.

5. Logical / Mathematical

A logical learner prefers information to flow from one thought or idea to the next. A person with this learning style prefers mathematics, logic, and reasoning.

6. Social / Interpersonal

A social learner prefers to learn in groups or through social interaction. A person with this learning style usually prefers group-work and project-based learning.

7. Solitary / Intrapersonal

A solitary learner prefers to work alone. People with this learning style are great at teaching themselves and often prefer self-study and online courses to more traditional learning methods.

Did you see yourself in more than one learning style? If so, then you understand that no one person has just one learning style. Each of the above styles exist in everybody to a certain degree.

If you take a learning style quiz, you might see a certain style emerge as the strongest (and, thus, more preferred). However, that does not mean that person cannot learn in one of the other ways listed.

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Learning Styles and the Brain

Learning styles influence and guide the way you learn. They affect the way you internally represent your experiences, remember information, or even dictate the words you choose[3].

Learning style quiz: Dunn & Dunn learning styles brain map [Source: Kos, (2017)]

     

    Research suggests that each learning style makes use of a different part of the brain. Here is the breakdown for each learning style:

    • Visual: Visual learners use the occipital and parietal lobes at the back of the brain.
    • Aural: Aural content is mostly processed through the temporal lobes (especially the right temporal lobe for music).
    • Verbal: Verbal content is processed through the temporal and frontal lobes.
    • Kinesthetic: Kinesthetic learning is processed using the cerebellum and the motor cortex.
    • Logical: Logical learning is processed through the parietal lobes (specifically using the left side of the brain as it pertains to logical thinking).
    • Social: Social learning happens in the frontal and temporal lobes.

    How to Use the Learning Style Quiz to Improve Your Life

    Perhaps you didn’t realize that people had different learning styles before you read this article. Maybe you already knew about learning styles.

    Whatever the case, you can learn a lot about yourself just by taking a short learning styles quiz. But what do you do with the knowledge you get from the results?

    Here are some tips:

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    Visual Learner

    If you’re a visual learner, focus on how you can make the material you’re learning more visually appealing[4].

    1. Stay Organized

    If a learning style quiz tells you you’re a visual learner, focus on getting your material organized. Your brain will likely feel overwhelmed if your notes are chaotic.

    2. Use Color

    Try color coding information in order to help your mind visually separate each bit. For example, if you’re studying for a history test, highlight dates in yellow, people in blue, and places in pink. This technique will set important pieces of information off in your mind and make them easier to remember.

    3. Watch Videos

    Ditch the audio-books and podcasts and either read or watch videos and lectures online. Your strength is found in visual explanation — seeing the information in a book, diagram, or demonstration.

    Auditory Learner

    If you’re an auditory learner according to your learning style quiz, focus on using your ability to hear to take in information[5].

    1. Limit Distracting Noises

    Traffic outside your window, students speaking nearby, or music blaring from a speaker won’t help you while studying. You’re already prone to take in the sounds around you, so if you want to learn something specific, find a quiet place to work where you can limit distracting noises.

    2. Read Aloud

    If you’ve taken notes in class, try reading them aloud to yourself. You can even create jingles or rhymes to help you remember specific bits of information.

    3. Record Lectures

    Instead of just simply writing notes as your professor or boss speaks, record the lecture or conversation and listen back later. This will help solidify the information with aural cues. Also, try speaking with classmates or coworkers to help “fill in” the information.

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    Kinesthetic Learners

    Your learning style quiz tells you that you’re a kinesthetic learner. Here are some study tips to help you[6].

    1. Teach Someone

    After you’ve studied the target information, try teaching it to someone else. This dynamic activity will help turn on your ability to recall the information.

    2. Be Hands-on

    Using your hands to create something will help your brain work through specific problems. If you need to remember 20 vocabulary words, try drawing a map and placing the words in specific places. This is related to the idea of a memory palace, which you can learn about here.

    Bonus tip: Try chewing gum, as the movement may help activate learning centers in your brain.

    3. Take Breaks

    As a kinesthetic learner, your mind won’t like being in one static position for very long. Take time to get up and walk around or do another physical activity for a few minutes between study sessions.

    Also be aware that most of the learning styles can fit into one of those three categories. You are essentially going to be one of these three types of learning styles paired with an interpersonal or intrapersonal preference. In other words, you either like working with others or you don’t.

    If you’re ready to take your learning to the next level with your learning style, check out the video below for some more tips and tricks:

    Final Thoughts

    Have you taken the learning style quiz yet? If not, scroll down this page a bit and try the quiz now!

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    If you spend just five to ten minutes on this quiz, it may give you insight into learning styles that will change your life.

    More on How to Use the Learning Style Quiz

    Featured photo credit: Eliabe Costa via unsplash.com

    Reference

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