Auditory learning is a learning style that relies on the sense of hearing to process and retain information.
For individuals with an auditory learning style, spoken language, music, and other sounds are powerful tools for learning and understanding.
Auditory learning is different from other learning styles, and some learners may face challenges and require specific learning strategies to maximize their potential.
In this article, we’ll explore the auditory learning style in-depth, including its benefits and potential disadvantages. We’ll also provide practical tips and strategies for teachers and students to enhance auditory learning in and out of the classroom.
Whether you are an auditory learner or an educator seeking to support the needs of auditory learners, this article will provide valuable auditory learning strategies.
What Is Auditory Learning?
Auditory learning style refers to the preference for hearing and listening to absorb and process new information.
People with an auditory learning style remember information better when it’s delivered through sound or speech rather than in written form.
Auditory learners learn best through lectures, discussions, and other forms of oral communication.
The auditory learning style is one of the four learning styles from the Fleming VARK model—visual learners, auditory learners, reading/writing, and kinesthetic learning style.
The following table shows the difference between auditory learning style and the other three learning styles.
Learns Best Through
Hearing and listening
Good memory for spoken information
Get easily distracted by any background noise or sound
Seeing and observing
Strong visual memory
Difficulty with verbal instruction
Reading text and writing notes
Strong literacy skills
Difficulty with visual and auditory instruction as well as lack of interest with hands-on activities
Physical and hands-on activities
Excel at building, experimenting, and exploring
Have a hard time sitting still for long periods
Individuals with an auditory style of learning benefit from using techniques such as repetition, summarizing information aloud, and participating in group discussions to help reinforce their understanding of new topics.
Auditory learners benefit from strengths, such as:
Good at listening and understanding spoken information
Able to express their thoughts and ideas clearly
Good at analyzing spoken information
Characteristics of Auditorial Learners
Some of the common characteristics of auditory learners include:
Strong listening skills: They enjoy listening to lectures, speeches, music, and other auditory materials.
Increased recollection of spoken information: Auditory learners have a strong memory for sounds.
Increased oral exam scores: They learn best through verbal communication and perform well in oral exams
Improved storytelling skills: They’re good storytellers and have a good memory for stories they have heard.
Talented at explaining ideas verbally: Auditory learners are good storytellers and can convey verbal information.
Improved speaking skills: They can easily express their ideas.
Benefits of Auditory Learning Style
Being an auditory learner has several benefits.
Reduced need for seeing or reading information to learn or remember it: Auditory learners can better remember things they hear than things they see.
Limited situations in which there's no auditory stimulus to use for learning: Even when there are no resources, an auditory learner can understand a concept as long as the teacher explains well. For instance, they don’t have to be taken on a trip to the museum to understand a historical topic.
Improved retention: Improved likelihood of remembering information compared to other learning styles when presented with auditory information
Increased ability to multitask: Auditory learning is a convenient way to learn on the go. Learners can listen to lectures or podcasts while driving, exercising, or doing other activities.
Improved communication skills: Because of the preference to discuss topics and issues verbally, auditory learners improve their language and pronunciation, helping them better express themselves.
Auditory Learning Tips for Teachers
Auditory learners need to listen, speak, and interact with others verbally in order to learn.
As a teacher, you can employ some auditory learning strategies to help your auditory learners excel.
1. Call on auditory learners to answer questions.
Calling on auditory learners to answer questions in the classroom can positively impact their academic performance.
By doing so, you’re validating their preferred style of learning. This helps them feel more confident and motivated to participate in class.
Additionally, hearing information repeatedly helps the learners remember it better. When they are called on to answer questions, they are more likely to remember the concept in the future.
For example, let’s say you’re a history teacher teaching about the causes of World War II. After explaining the various factors that led to the war, you ask the class to identify one cause and explain how it contributed to the outbreak of the war.
When you call on an auditory learner, the student can summarize the information they heard and explain it in their own words. This reinforces their learning style and helps them develop their understanding of the topic.
2. Encourage class discussions and reward students who participate in class.
Leading class discussions and rewarding participation is an effective strategy you can employ to teach auditory learners.
When students know they will be expected to participate in class discussions, they are more likely to listen to the teacher actively. This automatically helps auditory learners better retain information and improve their understanding.
Engaging in class discussions also helps auditory learners improve their communication skills. By expressing their ideas and responding to their peers, they improve their ability to articulate their thoughts and opinions.
When teachers reward participation, they send a message that the student's ideas are valued and important. This helps auditory learners build confidence to contribute to class discussions.
For example, imagine you’re leading a class discussion about the impact of climate change on ecosystems.
You pose a question about how rising temperatures might affect a specific bird species. An auditory learner raises their hand and shares their ideas about how the bird's breeding habits might be impacted.
You respond positively to the student's contribution and encourage others to build on their ideas. The student's participation in the discussion helps them develop their communication skills and feel more confident in their ability.
As a result, the student's performance in the class may improve as they become more engaged and invested in the topics.
3. Encourage auditory learners to explain ideas in their own words.
As mentioned, repetition helps auditory learners reinforce their understanding of the topic. Therefore, asking them to repeat ideas in their own words can help improve their performance.
Repeating ideas in their own words means they’re processing and expressing the information in their own way. This way, they’re more likely to remember it in the future.
If they are struggling to explain a concept, it’s an indication that they need to review the material further.
For example, let’s say Miss Ashley is an English teacher who is discussing the plot of a novel with the class. After explaining a key event in the story, the teacher asks Austin, an auditory learner, to repeat the information in his own words.
Austin summarizes the event and adds his own interpretation of what it means for the characters in the story. Miss Ashley then asks the rest of the class to add to Austin’s summary, encouraging further discussion.
Austin’s repetition of the idea in his own words helps them reinforce their understanding and engage more actively in the class discussion.
4. Record your lectures so that auditory learners can listen later.
Recording your lectures so that auditory learners can listen later can help improve their performance in various ways.
By providing recordings of lectures, you can support the preferred learning style of auditory learners. These students can listen to the material multiple times, helping them solidify their understanding of the topic.
It also encourages self-paced learning, which helps auditory learners who may need more time to process information or prefer to learn slower.
For example, imagine you’re teaching a complex concept to the class, and an auditory learner is having difficulty keeping up with the pace of the lesson.
You record the lecture and make it available to the student to listen to outside of class. The student listens to the recording multiple times, pausing and rewinding as needed to fully understand.
As a result, the student can complete homework assignments related to the concept. The lecture recording has allowed the auditory learner to better process and retain the information, leading to improved performance in the class.
5. Incorporate social elements in your lesson plans.
Creating lessons with a social element can help improve auditory learners' performance by promoting classroom engagement.
Auditory learners tend to thrive in group settings and enjoy participating in class discussions and activities.
By creating lessons with a social element, you can encourage students to collaborate and work together. This can help auditory learners understand better by hearing different perspectives and engaging in discussion.
For example, if you’re a history teacher teaching a unit on the American revolution, you can create a lesson where students are divided into groups to research and present on different aspects of the revolution.
Through this, the auditory learners in the class engage in discussion with their peers, and they hear different perspectives and interpretations of the unit.
By working together, the students develop a sense of community in the classroom. The auditory learners in the class are more engaged and perform better on related assignments and assessments.
Auditory Learning Tips for Students
Each of the four learning styles has its own characteristics. Knowing you’re an auditory learner can make the learning process easier for you.
Auditory learners can simplify how they learn inside and outside the classroom in the ways we’ll discuss next.
1. Study with a friend.
Studying with a friend provides opportunities for discussion and conversation. You can quiz each other and practice verbalizing the material.
By engaging in conversation and practicing verbally, you can improve your retention and application of knowledge.
For instance, if you’re studying literature, you will benefit from working with a study partner to read aloud and discuss important passages or themes. This way, you’ll better understand and internalize key information.
2. Record class lectures.
Recording class lectures is a good way to improve your performance because it allows you to listen to the material multiple times and at your own pace.
As an auditory learner, hearing information multiple times enables you to grasp the key concepts fully. It may also help if you’re struggling to take notes while listening to class lectures.
For example, if you’re studying history, you can record history class lectures and listen to them again while commuting to and from class, exercising, or doing chores around the house.
This repeated exposure to the spoken directions will make learning simpler for you, and you’ll be able to remember important details.
3. Listen to classical music.
Listening to classical music can help you focus and reduce distractions. This is because classical music is often instrumental, meaning there are no lyrics to distract you. The tempo and melody of the music are also soothing.
Classical music has been shown to positively affect brain function and cognitive performance. Studies suggest that listening to classical music stimulates the brain's alpha waves which improves memory, learning, and information processing.
For example, if you’re studying for an exam, you can listen to classical music to help you focus and reduce distractions. The music creates a calming atmosphere that promotes concentration and focus, which helps you better absorb and retain what you study.
4. Repeat facts with your eyes closed.
Repeating facts with your eyes closed allows you to focus solely on the sound of your own voice, which can help improve your retention.
By closing your eyes and repeating facts aloud, you’re engaging your sense of hearing and blocking out visual distractions, which promotes focus.
For example, if you’re studying for a history exam, you can close your eyes and repeat important dates, events, and names aloud to better remember and recall the information.
5. Participate in group discussions.
Participating in group discussions can help improve your performance because it provides an opportunity to engage through conversation and active listening.
By participating in group discussions, you can ask questions, share your own perspectives, and listen to the perspectives of others.
This will help you gain new insights and ideas. It also helps practice verbalization, which reinforces memory and improves the retention of information for auditory learners.
For example, participating in a group discussion with classmates about a specific topic, such as a historical event, can deepen your understanding and help you gain new insights that may not have been apparent to you through individual study.
Disadvantages of Auditory Learning Style
While there are many benefits that come with an auditory learning style, there are also a few disadvantages.
Being aware of these potential downfalls of the auditory learning style can help you prevent them from affecting your productivity and success in your classroom.
1. Susceptibility to distractions
One disadvantage of the auditory learning style is susceptibility to distractions.
Because auditory learners tend to rely heavily on their sense of hearing, they can be easily distracted by sounds and noises in their environment. This can make it difficult for them to focus and retain information.
For example, if the learner is studying through audio materials, such as lectures or podcasts, they may be more likely to miss important information if their environment is noisy.
To overcome this, auditory learners need to create a quiet and distraction-free environment for studying. This could include finding a quiet space to study, using noise-canceling headphones, or playing classical music to drown out distractions.
2. Lower attention span
Another disadvantage of the auditory learning style is a lower attention span. Auditory learners rely heavily on their sense of hearing and may find it more challenging to maintain focus for extended periods.
This can result in a shorter attention span and may make it difficult for them to fully engage in the learning process.
For example, an auditory learner listening to a long lecture or audiobook may struggle to maintain their attention and focus throughout the recording. This can lead to missed information and incomplete understanding.
To overcome this, break up auditory learners’ study sessions into shorter, more manageable chunks. You can also encourage them to take breaks to rest their ears and recharge their attention span.
3. Causing disruptions
Auditory learners learn through spoken directions and discussion, making them more likely to speak out loud or ask questions during class or group study sessions.
This can be disruptive to others with a different learning style or trying to focus on their work.
For example, an auditory learner who is participating in a group study session may ask a lot of questions or make frequent comments, which can interrupt the flow of the lesson and disrupt the learning environment for others.
To overcome this, auditory learners must be mindful of others' learning preferences when participating in group discussions.
4. Lack of retaining information
While auditory learners may excel at understanding information through listening, they may struggle to retain information that’s not delivered in auditory form.
In a classroom setting, teachers have to incorporate other learning styles into their teaching strategies. In such instances, auditory learners may struggle.
To overcome this, students with auditory learning skills may need to find ways to reinforce their learning through other sensory experiences or study techniques. For example, taking notes or creating visual aids.
Start Implementing Auditorial Learning Style In Your Classroom
Auditory learners have well-developed listening skills and can easily process information presented through speech, such as lectures, discussions, and podcasts.
The auditory learning style enhances their ability to process and retain information presented through verbal communication.
As a teacher, you can support your auditory learners through the use of audio recordings, music or multimedia presentation in your classroom.