Auditory learning

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Auditory learning is a learning style in which a person learns through listening. An auditory learner depends on hearing and speaking as a main way of learning.[1] Auditory learners must be able to hear what is being said in order to understand and may have difficulty with instructions that are drawn but if the writing is in a logical order it can be easier to understand . They also use their listening and repeating skills to sort through the information that is sent to them.[2]

The Fleming VAK/VARK model, one of the most common and widely used categorizations of the various types of learning styles,[3] categorized the various types of learning styles as follows: visual learners, auditory learners, reading/writing-preference learners, and kinesthetic learners (also known as "tactile learners").[4]


Auditory learners may have a knack for ascertaining the true meaning of someone's words by listening to audible signals like changes in tone. When memorizing a phone number, an auditory learner will say it out loud and then remember how it sounded to recall it.

Auditory learners are good at writing responses to lectures they’ve heard. They’re also good at oral exams, effectively by listening to information delivered orally, in lectures, speeches, and oral sessions.

Proponents claim that when an auditory/verbal learner reads, it is almost impossible for the learner to comprehend anything without sound in the background. In these situations, listening to music or having different sounds in the background (TV, people talking, music, etc.) will help learners work better.

Auditory learners are good at storytelling. They solve problems by talking them through. Speech patterns include phrases “I hear you; That clicks; It's ringing a bell”, and other sound or voice-oriented information. These learners will move their lips or talk to themselves to help accomplish tasks.[1]

Auditory learners can be identified by the following Characteristics:

The person who:

  • Likes to read to self out loud.
  • Is not afraid to speak in class.
  • Likes oral reports.
  • Is good at explaining.
  • Remembers names.
  • Notices sound effects in movies.
  • Enjoys music.
  • Is good at grammar and foreign language.
  • Reads slowly.
  • Follows spoken directions well.
  • Can't keep quiet for long periods.
  • Enjoys acting, being on stage.
  • Is able to memorize lines for a skit easily.
  • Is good in study groups.


Auditory learners:

  • Tend to have incredible memories for past conversations (such as jokes).
  • Have a great memory for music and lyrics.
  • Enjoy discussions, debates, and talking to others.
  • Enjoy listening to music, and sing/hum/whistle to themselves.
  • They prefer to give oral presentations over written reports (although this also has a lot to do with confidence!).
  • May read slowly.
  • May have difficulty interpreting complicated graphs, maps or diagrams.


  • Remembers what they hear and say.
  • Enjoys classroom and small-group discussion.
  • Can remember oral instructions well.
  • Understands information best when they HEAR it.


Learning Strategies[edit]

  • Study with a friend so you can talk about the information and HEAR it, too.
  • Recite out loud the information you want to remember several times.
  • Ask your teacher if you can submit some work (if appropriate) as an oral presentation, or on audio tape.
  • Make your own tapes of important points you want to remember and listen to it repeatedly. This is especially useful for learning material for tests.
  • When reading, skim through and look at the pictures, chapter titles, and other clues and say out loud what you think this book could be about.
  • Make flashcards for various material you want to learn and use them repeatedly, reading them out loud. Use different colours to aid your memory.
  • Set a goal for your assignments and verbalize them. Say your goals out loud each time you begin work on that particular assignment.
  • Read out loud when possible. You need to HEAR the words as you read them to understand them well.
  • When doing maths calculations, use grid paper to help you set your sums out correctly and in their correct columns.
  • Use different colors and pictures in your notes, exercise books, etc. This will help you remember them. [5]

Teaching Strategies[edit]

  • Re-phrase points, questions. Vary speed, volume, pitch, as appropriate, to help create interesting aural textures.
  • Write down key points or key words to help avoid confusion due to pronunciation.
  • During lessons, ensure auditory learners are in a position to hear well.
  • Incorporate multimedia applications utilizing sounds, music, or speech (use tape recorders, computer sound cards/recording applications, musical instruments, etc.).

Activity Suggestions[edit]

  • Oral report or presentation
  • Musical performance
  • Teach the class or a group
  • Puppet show
  • Panel discussion
  • TV/radio show
  • Debate
  • Verbal games
  • Tape recordings
  • Show and tell/current events
  • Songs
  • Peer tutoring
  • Raps
  • Oral presentations
  • Poems
  • Demonstrations
  • Oral recitation [6]

Recommended techniques[edit]

Proponents say that teachers should use these techniques to instruct auditory learners: verbal direction, group discussions, verbal reinforcement, group activities, reading aloud, and putting information into a rhythmic pattern such as a rap, poem, or song.[1]

Proponents recommend techniques like these to auditory learners:

  • Record class notes and then listen to the recording (repeatedly), rather than reading notes.
  • Remember details by trying to "hear" previous discussions.
  • Participate in class discussions.
  • Ask questions and volunteer in class.
  • Read assignments out loud.
  • Study by reading out your notes
  • Whisper new information when alone.[2]
  • Use a 'text to speech' tool such as the one found in Google Translate to listen to

Study Tips[edit]

  • Ask questions in class. Ask for the topic to be explained, or for the teacher to tell you how to do the work - don’t just say you don’t understand.
  • Look at your study environment - is it too noisy, or would you like quiet music in the background? Definitely turn off the TV.
  • Talk to someone about what you are learning.
  • Ask yourself questions about what you are studying and look for the answers.
  • Repeat information or directions aloud to yourself (under your breath in class).
  • Make up songs or rhymes to memorize new information.
  • Read aloud when studying.
  • Read directions or instructions aloud - for all subjects. Then talk yourself through the steps to complete the assignment or problems.
  • To review, recite information you have learned.
  • When writing essays, try saying what you’d like to write, then write it down (or ask someone to scribe for you).
  • Check if it’s possible for assignments to be completed in audio form (for example an audio recording of an essay rather than a written essay).
  • Work with a study partner. Have them ask you questions about what you are learning.
  • Teach someone what you have learned.

Educational Tools[edit]

  • Audacity - This easy-to-use audio editing software lets you record and edit audio. It is free to use and works across multiple platforms (Mac OS X, Windows, and GNU/LINUX.)
  • WavePad - This free sound editing software (for Windows or Mac) allows users to record and edit audio within minutes. Functions are a cinch to use and work with multiple formats.
  • ReadPlease - This award-winning text-to-speech software can read web pages, translate copied and pasted text to speech and perform other helpful tasks. ReadPlease isn't free, but it is reasonably priced.
  • NaturalReader - Similar to ReadPlease, Natural Reader is designed to read text that is stored in your computer. Users can get a free version of NaturalReader or upgrade to paid versions that have additional tools.
  • Project Playlist - This social music experiment makes it easy for auditory learners to access free music to play in the background while they learn. The site features an endless number of songs to choose from and savable playlists.
  • Midomi - This unique search engine is powered by sound, not text. You can find the music you're looking for by singing, humming or whistling ten seconds of the tune.
  • PodOmatic - Auditory learners can create, find and share podcasts through this free site. PodOmatic hosts the world's largest selection of commercial-free podcasts.
  • PodcastDirectory - This website is a great place to search for free podcasts by subject. Users can also search by country, region, city, language and popularity level.
  • ProfCast - ProfCast isn't free, but it is low-priced and incredibly valuable. Auditory learners can use this simple tool to transform PowerPoint presentations and other slides into podcasts. [7]


Auditory learners make up about 30% of the population.[8]

Lack of evidence[edit]

Although learning styles have "enormous popularity", and both children and adults express personal preferences, there is no evidence that identifying a student's learning style produces better outcomes, and there is significant evidence that the widely touted "meshing hypothesis" (that a student will learn best if taught in a method deemed appropriate for the student's learning style) is invalid.[9] Well-designed studies "flatly contradict the popular meshing hypothesis".[9] Rather than targeting instruction to the "right" learning style, students appear to benefit most from mixed modality presentations, for instance using both auditory and visual techniques for all students.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Kostelnik, M.J., Soderman, A.K., Whiren, AP. (2004). Developmentally Appropriate Curriculum: Best Practices in Early Childhood Education (3rd ed.). Columbus: Pearson, Merrill Prentice Hall.
  2. ^ a b Vincent, A.; Ross, D. (2001). "Learning Style Awareness". Journal of Research on Computing in Education 33: 1–10. 
  3. ^ Leite, Walter L.; Svinicki, Marilla; and Shi, Yuying: Attempted Validation of the Scores of the VARK: Learning Styles Inventory With Multitrait–Multimethod Confirmatory Factor Analysis Models, pg. 2. SAGE Publications, 2009.
  4. ^ LdPride. (n.d.). What are learning styles? Retrieved October 7, 2008
  5. ^ "Understanding learning styles and incorporating auditory learning into 4-H programming". Michigan State University. 
  6. ^ "Use of Auditory Learning to Manage Listening Problems in Children". Philosophical Transactions: Biological Sciences. Vol. 364, No. 1515, Sensory Learning: From Neural Mechanisms to Rehabilitation (Feb. 12, 2009) (The Royal Society): pp. 409-420. 
  7. ^ "30 of the Best Educational Tools for Auditory, Visual, and Kinesthetic Learners". learningpath. 
  8. ^ Heller, Steven, and Terry Steelblahe. Monsters and Magical Sticks. Gay Falcon. 55.
  9. ^ a b Harold Pashler, Mark McDaniel, Doug Rohrer and Robert Bjork (2009). "Learning Styles: Concepts and Evidence". Psychological Science in the Public Interest 9 (3): 105–119. doi:10.1111/j.1539-6053.2009.01038.x. ISSN 1539-6053. 
  10. ^ Coffield, F., Moseley, D., Hall, E., Ecclestone, K. (2004). Learning styles and pedagogy in post-16 learning. A systematic and critical review. London: Learning and Skills Research Centre.