Friday, February 25, 2005

What About Auditory Learners?

What about auditory learners? In most learning style discussions, auditory learning is paired with verbal ability - but we probably strong auditory-verbal skills are different from strong auditory-musical skills, although they can also exist together. In this first post about auditory learners, we'll focus on auditory-verbal. We'll talk about auditory-musical learners soon.

In general, auditory verbal learners attract less discussion among learning style enthusiasts because they seem to flourish in conventional classroom settings where the teachers talk and the students are supposed to listen.

Strong auditory verbal learners like to processing information through a brain loop of listening-speaking-listening. They like to talk their way through information and tend to learn well with lecture, group discussions, interactive teaching, and books on tape. Auditory verbal learners tend to have strong language skills, and may take to learning by speaking aloud, working in groups, or studying or taking notes with a tape recorder.

Sometimes strong auditory learners have visual memory problems. They are such strong auditory learners because they have learned that they are better with listening. Verbal mediation can often compensate a great deal for visual problems (e.g. some with dyslexia or premature birth), but these individuals may be more prone to overload if they hae to 'see' by listening at the same time they are listening.

Auditory imagery can be a powerful learning resource, as sounds can be associated with words, pictures, and images. Sometimes this is what children are doing when they make all sorts of noises and sounds as they think or work. We've included some articles and links on auditory imagery below. Also here's a nifty excerpt from an fMRI study of "the little voice in your head." This view is only an excerpt from the left side of the brain, an equally complicated pattern of activation is triggered on the right.

Little Voice Auditory Imagery
Learning Styles Including Auditory
Auditory Perceptual Learning
Modality-specific Auditory Imagery
Auditory Imagery and Free Recall

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