The Importance of Identifying Learning Styles to the Auditory Learner Essay
According to the VAK theory of learning styles, there are three main styles of learning; Visual, Auditory and Tactile / Kinesthetic or VAK. (Fleming, 2001) Visual learners are those that learn by seeing. Auditory learners are those that learn best by hearing the material. Tactile / Kinesthetic learners are those who learn best by moving, touching and doing. These three basic styles make up this theory of learning that has helped countless students and others. It is important for any individual to know their own learning style but it is especially important for the auditory learner because of many factors that will be discussed further.
It is also important for any learner to understand that though they may fall into one of these three categories, they still may possess traits from the other styles. It is advisable that anyone get an assessment done to see where they fall in the spectrum. There are many resources online for free that offer this service.
Contained within the category of Auditory learners are two different types of auditory learners; the auditory listeners and the verbal processors.
According to Marcia Conner auditory listeners learn through listening. They interpret meaning from listening to sounds, intonations, and words. They may learn better from lectures and they generally like reading because it gives them a chance to hear the story in their mind. Verbal processors often feel the need to say things out loud. They may feel the need to offer comments as well at the risk of being disruptive. (Conner, 2004) Just like in the last paragraph regarding the broader styles, the individual auditory listeners and verbal processors are not necessarily one way or the other but may have traits of both.
Imagine a young child being completely sheltered from peers and information for the first ten years of their life and then being sent to a school with people of other races and/or religions. The amount of knowledge that this child would suddenly have open to him would be astounding. The same can be said for someone that learns their learning style in concrete terms for the first time. There are several positive aspects to identifying oneself as an auditory learner. One of those might be the ability to overcome challenges once thought insurmountable because of a lack of knowledge of one’s style.
There are many good resources available regarding learning styles and using some of the study techniques designed specifically for auditory learners a person might also have the benefit of cutting down their study time greatly. Also, because of the fact that it has been shown that auditory learners do better in certain areas of study than others, when an auditory learner finds out about these areas of study it may lead to them finding an entirely new field of study that they never knew of before. It should be said though that many people are seeking to convert their teaching methodology to deal with auditory learners in subjects that don’t generally lend themselves to such student. Focusing on the auditory learner’s preference for words may help some students according to George Hardy who wrote, “Individual words can be emphasized to aid the Auditory Learner. For example, when dealing with Highest Common Factors, invite Auditory Learners to focus on the noun ‘factor’ and its meaning first, rather than the adjective ‘highest’.” (Hardy, 2010)
There lies a real deficit to an auditory learner not becoming familiar with the topic of learning styles and not identifying themselves as auditory learners. A particular course might not be well suited to them because the professor may use a style not beneficial to auditory learners. This can lead naturally to a student feeling overwhelmed or unintelligent when all it takes is a cursory knowledge of learning styles to avoid this dilemma. Sometimes an unidentified auditory learner can experience a lack of ability to focus in certain settings and cannot understand why.
Auditory learners have many learning strengths that they should seek to utilize and highlight in their learning process. According to published information from Penn State University at York, auditory learners can accurately remember details of conversation, have very good language and vocabulary skills, may find learning a foreign language easy and they frequently have musical talents. (Anonymous, 2011)
It is no wonder that college education has become so much more widely available to so many people and that corporate trainings have become so much more prevalent in the last 20 years. People know better how to convey information to a larger audience and the audience knows better how to learn. Auditory learners have been among of the greatest beneficiaries of this information. The ability to know that there is more than just one way to learn, the ability of the auditory learner to identify which group he is in and the ability to tailor your educational experience is of the highest value. No longer does a young unidentified auditory learner that has trouble memorizing a list of vocabulary words by staring at a piece of paper for hours on end have to feel like he is dumb. Now he just needs to know that he is an auditory learner and he can make sentences with those words and say those sentences aloud and all of a sudden he has got it down. Subjects like math are even open to him when professors and educators are looking out for the auditory learners. It is safe to say that identifying one’s learning style can make or break the educational experience of an individual, especially for the auditory learner. The educational life of an identified auditory learner than knows how to study within his abilities can be a great one.
Fleming, N. D. (2001). Teaching and learning styles: VARK strategies. Christchurch, New Zealand: N.D. Fleming Conner, M. L. (2004). Learn More Now: 10 Simple Steps to Learning Better, Smarter & Faster. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons Inc. Hardy, G. (2010). Auditory Learning: George Hardy Considers the Place of Auditory Learning in Mathematics. Mathematics Learning, 218, 24-25 Anonymous (2011). Auditory Learners. Retrieved from http://www2.yk.psu.edu/learncenter/acskills/auditory.html