When it comes to getting an education, we all have different ways of learning, or learning styles. Determining your personal learning style involves examining the physical and cognitive methods you use to process, retain and relay new information. Most education experts group learning styles into three types: visual learners, auditory learners and tactile learners.

For example, visual learners learn best when they can see the material being taught and have it mapped out or outlined using visual guides, such as a PowerPoint presentation. Similarly, auditory learners get the most benefit from hearing new material being discussed and explained, as with lectures. Tactile learners understand best when they can experience new material through hands-on labs and demonstrations. Frequently, your own learning style will combine elements from more than one of these types, but in most cases, one of them will be dominant.

Knowing your learning style can be extremely valuable for enhancing your home study experience. Research has shown students who know their own learning styles and use that knowledge to facilitate their studies often earn higher grades. By understanding the ways in which you learn best, you can not only choose home study courses that best fit your learning style, but you can also tailor your study habits to suit your learning styles, thereby capitalizing on your strengths and minimizing your weaknesses.

This is the second article in a three-part series discussing the various types of learning styles and offering tips for customizing your study methods to fit with each particular style. In this initial article, we’ll look at auditory learners.

Learning Type: Auditory Learners

Auditory learners respond best to material they hear spoken and discussed. They learn most effectively from lectures, discussion groups, books on tape, DVDs and streaming audio/video. An auditory learner typically enjoys giving oral reports and presentations, reads aloud for increased comprehension, excels at oral debate, tapes live lectures, gains insight from discussion, studies in groups and is adept at learning foreign languages.

If you’re an auditory learner, try to incorporate the following study habits to facilitate the learning process:

  • Take classes that use lots of audio-visual presentations, such as DVDs and taped lectures.
  • Form a study group or find a study partner, so you can discuss the class material together.
  • Ask your teacher questions via e-mail or electronic bulletin board, and read his or her answers aloud.
  • When reading text, verbally summarize in your own words the main points of each chapter or section after you finish reading.
  • If you take written notes during any presentation, lecture or discussion, read them back aloud and tape yourself.
  • Engage in verbal drills to enhance studying.
  • Take every advantage to engage in online discussion groups by making frequent postings and comments to others’ postings. Then, collect your favorite postings and read them aloud when studying.
  • Have a study partner or family member quiz you orally on material you’re studying.
  • Offer to give oral presentations in lieu of written essays whenever possible.
  • Use word association and rhyme schemes to help with memorization.
  • Study with soft music playing in the background to enhance comprehension.

Chris Towery is the former associate editor of MASSAGE Magazine and is currently a full-time freelance journalist. He has written hundreds of articles for more than 20 different magazines, newspapers and custom publishers. Much of his recent writing has been for the complementary and alternative health-care industry. To contact Towery, e-mail cmreuben@yahoo.com.