What is an Auditory Learning Style?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

In some instances, people may be classified as having different learning strengths. There are a variety of classifications that can be used, but a common one is the auditory/tactile/visual. When this is used it means learners may have a natural preference for one of these and in briefest description they could learn better by hearing, touching/doing, or seeing. In the auditory learning style, people tend to learn better by both hearing and speaking.

A boy who prefers auditory learning giving an oral report.
A boy who prefers auditory learning giving an oral report.

A short definition of auditory learning style doesn’t really say much about the way auditory learners tend to function in the learning environment. There are many ways that this strength comes into play for these types of students. They may have some shortcomings that need addressing. Reading may be hard for auditory learners, unless they’re allowed to read aloud, even at a whisper. Being able to speak the words out loud can help reinforce material and improve comprehension.

Hearing is an important factor for students with an auditory learning style.
Hearing is an important factor for students with an auditory learning style.

Speaking is very much part of auditory learning style students. An additional shortfall may be the tendency to occasionally speak too much. While these children and adults are usually eager to participate in the classroom, this enthusiasm sometimes goes a bit overboard. Teachers working with students of this type need to both encourage appropriate contributions and discourage too many of them.

A student with auditory learning style will retain much material from a lecture.
A student with auditory learning style will retain much material from a lecture.

A person with an auditory learning style is likely to be very good at a number of things. Strong speaking skills suggest students will enjoy formats where they get to make oral reports or take oral testing. During lectures such students tend to do very well, taking in much of the material.

Reading may be hard for auditory learners unless they're allowed to read aloud.
Reading may be hard for auditory learners unless they're allowed to read aloud.

Students will also respond positively if they have lectures on tape or if they watch material that is narrated. A student of this type might be best off taping class lectures instead of taking notes on them, since they’ll retain much more from repeated hearing of a lecture. Another tool for this type of student is voice narration programming, so typed notes or material could be read aloud.

Since focus of auditory learning style is on hearing, it’s suggested to teachers that identified auditory learners receive verbal prompting. It can’t always be assumed that this type of learner will get visual cues to do things. There are many ways to give verbal prompts that in no way embarrass the student, if behavior, like too much talking. is creating issues in a classroom.

Lots of methods exist to classify learning styles, and no classification is absolutely perfect. Not every person identified as an auditory learner possesses all common characteristics of the style. There are excellent readers who love to talk, or great listeners that easily pick up visual cues. While this categorization may be useful, and is used by many teachers to try to address different learning styles, it’s also important to understand individual range of each learner. For students, identifying with a style is a good jumping off point, but comprehending personal strengths and weaknesses is most useful when determining how best to learn.

Students with a strength in auditory learning will pick up more from a discussion rather than a straight lecture.
Students with a strength in auditory learning will pick up more from a discussion rather than a straight lecture.
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent wiseGEEK contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

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Discussion Comments

Raynbow

@ocelot60- That is true too. However, I think that people who understand the importance of learning through hearing and who are comfortable speaking in front of people excel in classes such as debating and public speaking.

Ocelot60

@raynbow- That does make sense, but I think that some people who learn best through the auditory style are not good at giving speeches. I always felt that I learned better by hearing a lecture than by reading, but I also did not like to get up in front of the class to speak or give a report.

Raynbow

It seems like students who thrive through auditory learning also often do very well at giving oral presentations and speeches. I assume this is because they respond through hearing, so delivering an oral report comes easier for them.

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