Listen and Learn

Originally published on

Listen and Learn

With all the ways that we can absorb information — sights, sounds, social interactions, and hands-on experiences — it benefits both for your personal and professional interactions to identify and utilize your dominant learning style and then find ways to incorporate this dominant learning style with other learning strategies.

If after taking the mini-quiz you think you might be an auditory learner, read on to see how your auditory learning abilities can be used to your advantage. If you are not an auditory learner, read this article to understand how auditory learners process information and how to incorporate some auditory learning methods into your dominant learning style.

Characteristics of an Auditory Learner

Auditory learners process information best by listening and speaking. They learn best in lecture and discussion types of environments and are usually comfortable speaking in a group setting. They also think through and imagine conversations in their heads and often enjoy presentations, be it in class, work, or theatre stage settings. The ability to verbally explain information well, notice music and sound effects, absorb foreign languages, remember and retain conversations, and follow spoken directions are also common characteristics of an auditory learner.

Conversely, it is more difficult for an auditory learner to retain information that they read or see. Many auditory learners read relatively slowly and have trouble staying quiet for a long time.

Making the Most of Your Auditory Learning Ability

Auditory learners are fortunate because society—from classrooms to conference rooms to conversations with family—is awash with information embedded in sounds and voices. The best ways to utilize auditory learning strengths are to:

  • Repeat information aloud or close your eyes and repeat the information to yourself in your head
  • Record lectures or presentations to listen to again later
  • Participate in study groups or other group learning environments
  • Verbally summarize new information for family and friends to help you retain it
  • Read aloud to yourself or others
  • Learn foreign languages by listening to language tapes
  • Watch videos or other mixed media in which information is conveyed through both auditory and visual means
  • Take notes that utilize key words and thematic groupings to trigger auditory memories

The basic key to using your auditory learning strengths to improve your auditory, hands-on, and interpersonal learning skills is to repeat, repeat, repeat. For example, read aloud information you are processing or practice describing pictures or charts instead of letting only your eyes absorb the visual information. When meeting new people, take a moment to say their names to yourself in your head. As you listen to someone speaking, in your head create pictures or other graphic representations of what they are saying.

These techniques also allow auditory learners to turn the often-intangible realm of spoken words and information into something that other learners (such as visual or hands-on types) can comprehend. For auditory learners, it is easy to “listen and learn” as well as to help others to “see what you’re saying.”

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