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.


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.


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.


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.


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]

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


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Sindre Kaupang

Entrepreneur and filmmaker, founder of Productive Headspace and Beyond Music

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Published on January 19, 2021

What Is Learning by Doing And Why Is It Effective?

What Is Learning by Doing And Why Is It Effective?

The list of teaching techniques is ever-expanding as there are multiple ways for us to gain knowledge. As a result, there are multiple techniques out there that leverage those particular skills. One such technique I want to share with you is learning by doing.

This technique has been around for a long time, and it’s a surprisingly effective one thanks to the various perks that come with it. Also called experiential learning, I’ll be sharing with you my knowledge on the subject, what it is deep down, and why it’s such an effective learning tool.

What Is Learning by Doing?

Learning by doing is the simple idea that we are capable of learning more about something when we perform the action.

For example, say you’re looking to play a musical instrument and were wondering how all of them sound and mix. In most other techniques, you’d be playing the instrument all by yourself in a studio. Learning by doing instead gives you a basic understanding of how to play the instrument and puts you up on a stage to play an improvised piece with other musicians.

Another way to think about this is by taking a more active approach to something as opposed to you passively learning about it. The argument is that active engagement provides deeper learning and that it’s okay if you make mistakes as you learn from those as well. This mentality brought forth a new name for this technique: experiential learning.

What Are Its Benefits?

Experimental learning has been around for eons now. It was Aristotle who wrote that “for the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.”


Over the years, that way of thinking changed and developed and for a time was lost once computers were integrated into schools. It’s only been in recent years where schools have adopted this technique again. It’s clear why teachers are encouraging this as it offers five big benefits.

1. It’s More Engaging and More Memorable

The first benefit is that it’s more engaging and memorable. Since this requires action on your part, you’re not going to be able to weaken your performance. This is big since, traditionally, you’d learn from lectures, books, or articles, and learners could easily read—or not read—the text and walk away with no knowledge at all from it.

When you are forced into a situation where you have to do what you need to learn, it’s easier to remember those things. Every action provides personalized learning experiences, and it’s where motivation is built. That motivation connects to what is learned and felt. It teaches that learning is relevant and meaningful.

Beyond that, this experience allows the opportunity for learners to go through the learning cycle that involves extended effort, mistakes, and reflection, followed by refinement of strategies.

2. It Is More Personal

Stemming from the reason mentioned above, learning by doing offers a personal experience. Referring back to the cycle of effort, mistakes, reflection, and refinement, this cycle is only possible through personal emotions—the motivation and realization of knowledge of a particular topic tying into your values and ideals.

This connection is powerful and thus, offers a richer experience than reading from a book or articles such as this one. That personal connection is more important as it encourages exploration and curiosity from learners.


If you’ve always wanted to bake a cake or cook a unique dish, you could read up on it or watch a video. Or you could get the ingredients and start going through it all yourself. Even if you make mistakes now, you have a better grasp of what to do for the next time you try it out. You’re also more invested in that since that’s food that you made with the intention of you having it.

3. It Is Community-Connected

Learning by doing involves the world at large rather than sitting alone in your room or a library stuck in a book. Since the whole city is your classroom technically, you’re able to leverage all kinds of things. You’re able to gather local assets and partners and connect local issues to larger global themes.

This leans more into the personal aspect that this technique encourages. You are part of a community, and this form of learning allows you to interact more and make a connection with it—not necessarily with the residents but certainly the environment around it.

4. It’s More Integrated Into People’s Lives

This form of learning is deeply integrated into our lives as well. Deep learning occurs best when learners can apply what they’ve learned in a classroom setting to answer questions around them that they care about.

Even though there is a lot of information out there, people are still always asking “what’s in it for me?” Even when it comes to learning, people will be more interested if they know that what they are learning is vital to their very way of life in some fashion. It’s forgettable if they’re unable to tie knowledge in with personal aspects of their lives. Thus, experiential learning makes the application of knowledge simpler.

5. It Builds Success Skills

The final benefit of learning by doing is that it builds up your skills for success. Learning by doing encourages you to step out of your comfort zone, discover something new, and try things out for the first time. You’re bound to make a mistake or two, but this technique doesn’t shame you for it.


As a result, learning by doing can build your initiative for new things as well as persistence towards growth and development in a field. This could also lead to team management and collaboration skill growth. These are all vital things in personal growth as we move towards the future.

How to Get Started

While all these perks are helpful for you, how are you going to start? Well, there are several different approaches that you can take with this. Here are some of them that come to mind.

1. Low-Stakes Quizzes

In classroom settings, one way to introduce this technique is to have many low-stakes quizzes. These quizzes aren’t based on assessing one’s performance. Instead, these quizzes are designed to have learners engage with the content and to generate the learned information themselves.

Research shows that this method is an effective learning technique.[1] It allows students to improve their understanding and recall and promotes the “transfer” of knowledge to other settings.

2. Type of Mental Doing

Another approach is one that Psychologist Rich Mayer put together. According to him, learning is a generative activity.[2] His knowledge and the research done in his lab at Santa Barbara have repeatedly shown that we gain expertise by doing an action, but the action is based on what we already know.

For example, say you want to learn more about the Soviet dictator Stalin. All you need to do is link what you do know—that Stalin was a dictator—and link it to what you want to learn and retain. Stalin grew up in Georgia, killed millions of people, centralized power in Russia, and assisted in the victory of World War 2. This technique even applies to the most simple of memory tasks as our brain learns and relearns.


3. Other Mental Activities

The final method I’ll share with you is taking the literal approach—getting out there and getting your hands dirty so to speak. But how you go about that is up to you. You could try reading an article and then going out and applying it immediately—like you could with this article. Or maybe you could find further engagement through puzzles or making a game out of the activity that you’re doing.

For example, if you wanted to learn about animal behavior patterns, you can read about them, go out to watch animals, and see if they perform the specific behaviors that you read about.

Final Thoughts

Learning by doing encourages active engagement with available materials and forces you to work harder to remember the material. It’s an effective technique because it helps ingrain knowledge into your memory. After all, you have a deeper personal connection to that knowledge, and you’ll be more motivated to use it in the future.

With that in mind, I encourage you to take what you’ve learned from reading this article and apply that in the real world. It’s only going to benefit you as you grow.

Featured photo credit: Van Tay Media via


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