A Student's Brief Overview of the Auditory Learning Style
An overview of auditory learners, who prefer to absorb information through their sense of hearing. They tend to be fond of speaking out loud and listening to themselves talk.
by Katharine Hansen, Ph.D.
Auditory learners prefer to absorb information through their sense of hearing. They tend to be fond of speaking out loud, talking to themselves, and listening to themselves talk. They have difficulty handling distracting noises. They like to talk issues and problems through and prefer to hear directions verbally. They may become bored when classroom activities are solitary and silent, such as during in-class writing assignments. They are said to be able to recall at least 75 percent of material they hear. About 30 percent of learners have the auditory learning-style preference.
Class Selection for Auditory Learners
Auditory learners should look for classes with hefty discussion elements. Try to enroll in small classes to increase your opportunities to be called on and join in the class discussion. Seek out professors who are open to being asked a lot of questions and who will give you verbal feedback. Do you know of a professor who sprinkles lectures with stories and anecdotes? Perfect for you! You will likely excel in classes that require public speaking, presentations, and perhaps even debate. Foreign languages and music will also probably be relatively easy for you.
In-Class Strategies for Auditory Learners
- Sit in a part of the classroom where you can hear well.
- Privately ask the professor to intervene if classmates constantly talk in class and distract you, or if other noise creates distractions.
- Be sure to copy notes from the board as accurately as possible since your tendency is not to.
- Ask questions to clarify information.
- Be careful not to annoy your professor by talking to classmates when the professor is talking. That's your natural tendency since you like to chat and hear yourself talk.
- In classes in which lecture material aligns very closely with reading assignments, you may want to listen to the lecture first and then reinforce your learning by reading the corresponding chapter. Similarly, lecture outlines provided by your professor will enable you to devote full attention to your best skill, listening, while taking minimal notes.
Study Strategies for Auditory Learners
- Ask others to explain things you don't understand. Ask your professor. It's typical for an auditory learner to want a classmate to verbally confirm details of an assignment -- but a better source for getting these aspects explained to you is your professor.
- Join study groups so you can discuss class material and hear others discuss it.
- Teach material to others.
- Recite or speak your notes aloud.
- Use mnemonics.
- Create story and anecdote versions of study material and read them to yourself.
- Record your notes and play them back.
- Ask your professor to permit you to record lectures.
- Make up silly sayings or musical jingles to help you remember material.
- Talk your way through activities such as math problems.
- Look for audio recordings and podcasts to enhance your learning. Check out, for example, iTunesU, which offers podcast presentations, performances, lectures, demonstrations, debates, tours, and archival footage from more than 250 universities. Most of the podcasts are free.
Discover more about learning styles in our article, What's Your Learning Style -- and How Can You Make the Most of It?
Questions about some of the terminology used in this article? Get more information (definitions and links) on key academic terms by going to our College Success Glossary.
Katharine Hansen, Ph.D., is an educator, author, and blogger who provides content for EmpoweringSites.com, including MyCollegeSuccessStory.com. Katharine, who earned her PhD in organizational behavior from Union Institute & University, Cincinnati, OH, is author of Dynamic Cover Letters for New Graduates and A Foot in the Door: Networking Your Way into the Hidden Job Market (both published by Ten Speed Press), as well as Top Notch Executive Resumes (Career Press); and with Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D., Dynamic Cover Letters, Write Your Way to a Higher GPA (Ten Speed), and The Complete Idiot's Guide to Study Skills (Alpha). She curates, crafts, and delivers compelling content online, in print, on stage, and in the classroom. Visit her personal Website KatharineHansenPhD.com or reach her by e-mail at kathy(at)astoriedcareer.com. Check out Dr. Hansen on GooglePlus.