It is March, so the Callery Pear trees are in full blossom. It is a gorgeous sight, but it has a somewhat sickly smell. It is a feast to the eyes and not as much a feast when you smell it. Listening to Lang Lang playing piano is a similar experience, in a slightly different way though. His music is gorgeous, but many listeners dislike his exaggerated expressions and gestures that accompany his music.
God has given us beauty in its different formats. When it comes to learning, it is a very similar experience. Fleming describes four kinds of learners in his VARK model of learning:
- Visual learners;
- Auditory learners;
- Reading/writing-preference learners;
- Kinesthetic learners
These kinds of tendencies can sometimes be assessed by the way people talk. Visual learners, for instance, are more likely to say things like “Picture this in your mind…” “It appears that…” “Look!” “See!” Auditory learners are more tempted to say “Listen to this!” “It sounds like…” Kinesthetic learners? “You act as if…” I am a reading/writing-preference learner, hence this post.
I often hear of concerns of “losing personal touch” when things are moved online. What they are really saying is that students are deprived of certain sensory access to learning. This is why in many online course rubrics you find clauses like “providing multiple paths to learning”.
For a long time, as information comes mainly through printed materials, and increasingly through web pages, there has been much talk about “competing for the eyeball” as a way to describe ways to grab attention. Increasingly, there is going to be more and more effort to “compete for the ears”. A quickly accelerating amount of content is now being produced in, or converted to audio formats. Books are being published as audio books. Columnists read or even produce their columns in pod casts. Methods are also available to convert text to speech. In addition, Microsoft is believed to be working hard at natural speech recognition technologies to allow users to have an auditory method to have communication between people and computers or other types of smart objects.
Educators may also want to consider presenting instructional content in auditory formats. Here are a number of ways to do this:
You can use either Garage Band on the Mac side or Audacity on the Windows side to record your voice. Many other types of recording software are available, but the two mentioned here are free. We have sought to make this even easier for you to record and share your audio by utilizing the Podcast Capture to help you record, upload and share in a few clicks.
You can use applications like TextAloud to convert text to speech to have an alternative format of your content. This application is rather inexpensive. If you use Mac OS, you will also find a text-to-speech utility, which can also produce audio content from text.
Some users allow you to link to their audio content using creative commons methods to protect their copyright. More and more people are also producing their own audio content through podcasts or personal radio stations (such as http://www.last.fm).
Contact the North Institute if you need help producing any auditory content.
It does not sound right if we are simply WRITING about “auditory learning” . Listen to this post instead. This is produced with a text-to-speech software that may not be as good as listening to me speaking (complete with accent … etc), but it may work well if you have a lot of lecture content to transfer while you do not have the time to record. Click on the link below to listen (open it):