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Published on January 6, 2021

6 Strategies For Auditory Learners To Learn Effectively

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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 August 11, 2021

23 Killer Sites for Free Online Education Anyone Can Use

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23 Killer Sites for Free Online Education Anyone Can Use

Whether you’re five or ninety five, the internet has a lot to offer. Particularly when the topic is education, the resources on the internet are endless. Best of all, many high quality sites are completely free. From history to coding, excellent, free online education awaits on the following 23 sites.

1. Coursera

Coursera is a website that partners with universities and organizations around the world. This brings a wide variety of topics and perspectives to one searchable database.

Coursera is a powerful tool for free online education and includes courses from many top universities, museums and trusts. This gives the site an extremely wide range of in-depth courses.

Coursera is extremely useful if you’re looking to study many different topics, or want courses from different schools and groups. However, the free courses are now quite limited, so you’ll have to

2. Khan Academy

Partnering with many post secondary schools, Khan Academy offers a useable, well-organized interface. Also curating many courses from around the web, Khan Academy offers impressive depth on many different subjects.

Among the more well-known educational sites, Khan Academy is also incredibly user-friendly, which may make it easier to keep learning goals. If you’re looking for a free online education, you can’t go wrong with Khan Academy.

3. Open Culture Online Courses

If you are struggling to find exactly the material you are looking for, try Open Culture’s listing of free online education courses. The page highlights 1000 lectures, videos, and podcasts from universities around the world.

The site features a lot of material found only on universities’ private sites, all in easy-to-browse categories. This means you can find hundreds of university courses without having to visit and search each university’s site.

Open Culture’s list features courses from England, Australia, Wales, and many state universities around the United States. It’s a very helpful resource for finding many courses in one area of study.

4. Udemy 

Udemy’s free courses are similar in concept to Coursera’s but additionally allows users to build custom courses from lessons.

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Working with many top professors and schools, the site mixes the customizable platform of other sites with a heavy emphasis on top-quality content. This is another site, however, that mixes free and paid content.

5. Lifehack Fast Track Class

Lifehack believes in skills that multiply your time, energy, and overall quality of life.

In this rapidly changing world, traditional education skills just don’t cut it anymore. You can’t afford to take years learning a skill you’ll never really practice. Besides offering some paid courses that will help you become a better self, it offers a list of free courses which aim to train some of the Core Life Multipliers including:

These are cross-functional skills that work across many aspects of life.

6. Academic Earth

Another site with courses from many different schools is Academic Earth. Much like the three sites above, Academic Earth brings together top notch courses from many different sources and focuses on offering a wide variety of subjects.

Academic Earth lists courses by subject and school, so it might be easier to find what you’re looking for.

7. edX

Another great option for free online education is edX. Also bringing together courses from many different schools, the site has impressive, quality information for everyone. edX covers a great range of topics from universities such as Harvard, MIT, and Berkeley, meaning a high-quality, free online education is entirely possible here.

8. Alison

Unlike the previous sites on this list, Alison is a free education site offering certification in some areas. Alison offers courses mainly in business, technology, and health, but also includes language learning courses.

It’s a great option if users need a professional certificate for their learning, as Alison also offers school curriculum courses.

9. iTunesU Free Courses

A very convenient place for free online education is iTunesU, because it integrates seamlessly with your iPod or any app-ready Apple mobile device. On an iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch, users download the iTunesU app.

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Desktop users can access iTunesU on the upper right hand corner of the iTunes Store. iTunesU is also convenient because the store is categorized much like iTunes.

Users can search learning materials in many different ways, including by genre and topic. However, courses are often a mix of free podcasts or videos and paid content.

iTunesU does include courses on a variety of topics, but it does not integrate with Android, Google or Windows mobile devices.

10. Stanford Online

Your hub for all the online offerings from Stanford University, Stanford Online offers self-paced and session-based courses. While Coursera features some courses from Stanford, many classes are only available via other hosts. Some courses require iTunes, but most are completed in your web browser.

Stanford Online is a great site for high-quality courses, though the topics are somewhat limited compared to sites partnered with more than one school. If you’re looking for free courses, make sure to mark the “free” option on the left-hand side.

11. Open Yale Courses

Open Yale Courses echoes Stanford Online, in that it offers only courses from Yale. While the site is similarly limited to topics taught at the school, Open Yale Courses offers a lot of videos of actual campus lectures. The availability of videos makes the site a great option if you’re looking for quality courses but learn better by watching than by reading.

12. UC Berkeley Class Central

Much like the other schools on this list, UC Berkeley has a variety of free online education options. The school has slightly fewer courses than the schools above, but it includes some supplementary lectures, webcasts, and RSS Feeds, making it easy to keep up with the topics you choose.

13. MIT OpenCourseWare

Similarly, MIT offers a variety of free courses. The school has a comparable number of courses to the schools above, and it includes very in-depth course materials on the subjects available. MIT also offers free RSS feeds, a convenient way to continue learning.

14. Carnegie Mellon Open Learning Initiative

Carnegie Mellon’s free online education site is comparable with the other school’s on this list. However, Open Learning Initiative also covers a smaller range of topics, but for the topics that are covered, impressive, in-depth material is available.

15. Codecademy

Codecademy is a website dedicated specifically to teaching coding. Where other coding sites follow an example/practice session workflow, Codecademy includes a live practice window. This means you can practice coding while still viewing the lesson material.

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The courses at Codecademy are well-written and easy to follow, and the website is organized very nicely. Codecademy features a centralized dashboard where you can monitor your progress, and it organizes lessons into complete modules. This lets you learn an entire language without needing to pick the next course manually.

16. Code

Code is another website focused on coding and app writing. A site with high-quality courses, Code also features learning options for kids.

In addition to kid-friendly courses, Code offers free online education classes on a wide variety of technology topics. These classes include app writing, robotics, and Javascript.

Most of the courses are also geared in a such a way that they can be useful in a classroom setting. This makes Code a great resource for harder to find coding topics, as well as various learning settings.

17. University of Oxford Podcasts

The University of Oxford features many different podcasts. Most are public lecture series or lectures from visiting professors, with several different recordings available.

The advantage to this particular site is that podcasts are organized into series, making it easy to subscribe to multiple lectures on one topic. This is another great site for thoroughly in-depth lectures.

18. BBC Podcasts

For the more casual learner, the BBC offers a wide variety of podcasts on many different topics. Most podcasts are updated weekly and focus on everything from finance, to sports, to current events.

Through the World Service line of podcasts, there are also many in different languages. The focus of these podcasts are less in-depth and theory based, which may be more accessible to the average person.

19. TED-Ed

Another great destination for more general learning and free online education is TED-Ed. From the same people that brought you the all-encompassing, motivational web series comes a site chocked full of educational videos. Most include impressive animation, and all are ten minutes long or less.

Not only is TED-Ed an excellent site for the curious, but it also includes supplemental materials and quizzes on the videos. This makes the site extremely useful in formal education settings, as well as in entertaining ways to brush up on new discoveries and topics.

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20. LessonPaths

LessonPaths is another great tool for those looking for a more usable and convenient way to access learning material. On this site, users create link playlists of their favorite learning materials from other sites. Users then rank these collections, making it easy to find many different high-quality, accessible sources on a given topic.

21. Memrise

Another impressive free online education site offering ease of use and convenience is Memrise. Available both on desktop and as an app, Memrise is a particularly powerful tool if you are studying a language. The site encompasses many other topics as well, though some of the course material is user generated content.

Part of what makes Memrise special is their integration of games into the learning materials, mixing learning with entertainment.

22. National Geographic Kids

The kids site for National Geographic is another site that makes free online education applicable for younger users. For those looking for kid-friendly education, a large variety of games, puzzles, videos and photos keep kids interested on this site.

National Geographic Kids doesn’t organize learning into courses, making materials available by topic and medium instead. This makes National Geographic Kids a good option for those looking for a more casual learning environment.

23. Fun Brain

Fun Brain is another great option for kids looking for free online education, as it focuses on games and fun puzzles. Particularly focused on math and reading, Fun Brain’s game-based approach can be valuable if the child in question struggles to pay attention.

Fun Brain offers rewards and challenges as well, and it is another site aimed at a casual learning experience for kids K-8.

The Bottom Line

With so many amazing free online education resources, everyone has the ability to boost their skills and knowledge. Whether you’re interested in picking up some interesting trivia for your next party, improve your resume with some coding or business skills, or become a more well-rounded person, these resources are perfect for you.

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Featured photo credit: Dai KE via unsplash.com

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