Learning Styles: The Auditory Learner

16.08.2020 |

Episode #3 of the course The theory of education: Effective learning and teaching by K.C. Finn


In the previous session, we discussed how vital engagement with the material is to our learning potential. These next three lessons explore the methods of engagement which we can utilize to reach that potential, and how to personalize them to our preferred learning styles. Lesson three begins with a brief introduction to the categorization of these styles and takes on the popular auditory learning format.


Where Does the Method Come From?

These three core learning styles have been adopted into educational theory since the year 1979 and were originally derived from a model of learning designed by Walter Burke Barbe, and later developed by Neil Fleming. There have been many contests and criticisms of the style profiles over the years, leading to further research and debate into potential offshoots of the styles, such as group work and mentorship. Still, the three central ideas have remained the same: Visual, Auditory, and Kinesthetic learning.

As the name suggests, auditory learners are those who respond best to sound cues and conversational methods of education. Let’s take a look at some examples, and how they might be adapted for our teaching and learning.


The Role of the Teacher

An exploration of the auditory learning profile works well as a follow on from our discussion of the Socratic Method, because auditory learners are those students you’ll see keenly participating in discussions, asking questions, and asking the teacher to explain things to them directly. Auditory learners allow their teacher to come alive and use their voice and emotional inflections to emphasize the meaning of what they’re saying, all to ensure that those lessons stay lodged in the memory of the learners.

Examples of auditory teaching techniques:

• Class discussions or paired conversation work.

• Turning lists of keywords or statements into musical phrases that are easier to remember.

• Recording lectures and reading aloud from visual sources like chalkboards.

• Always allowing time for question and answer sessions.


The Role of the Learner

If you find that explanations and discussions stick in your head much more than things you’ve read about, then chances are the auditory style might have a whole bundle of learning techniques to suit you. As an auditory learner, it’s your job to break up the silence of traditional learning by reaching out and asking questions, starting discussions, and using that critical thinking that we talked about in lesson two. Don’t be afraid to speak up where appropriate, and when it’s time for quiet, be sure to practice a great technique called Active Listening.

Active Listening is a process by which we try to retain as much as possible from a piece of information delivered in an audio format. You can do this by taking notes on the lecture while the teacher delivers it, but also by writing down questions that arise so that you can ask them later and engage more in-depth with the material. If you find note-taking difficult, then always be sure to record your learning lectures (with permission, of course) or watch the materials through again if they’re being delivered in a video/audio format from an online course. Even jotting down quick key words will allow you to make a link in your brain, helping you to recall those ideas when you need them for exams or essays.

Things to try as an auditory learner:

• “I can make use of recording devices to learn essential facts through active listening.”

• “I should read written information out loud wherever possible, or have a text-to-speech computer program read it for me.”

• “Music could be a great aid to engaging my mind for study time.”

• “Discussing my learning with a friend could bring out new ideas and help me remember things.”

In lesson three, we have explored the potential of using your voice and hearing to enhance your learning and teaching, but of course, there are two other methods yet to explore from the VAK Model, and it may well be that they suit your style more. Next session, we will learn about the other style profile of vision, diagram and pictured based learners, and why this style may suit you. Get ready to seek visual learning methods for yourself, and discover how to deliver them to others.

Until then, listen up!



Recommended reading

For more information on auditory learning, including some fantastic tips on how to make the most of your style, check out Thought Co’s excellent advice.


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