The Secret Power Of Audio Learning

Audio learning is a powerful yet woefully underused resource in education today. How many songs can you remember the lyrics to? Someone only has to start humming a few bars and you can probably jump right in and sing along. Some estimates are that people can do this with hundreds or even thousands of songs!

Put together, that’s enough words to make a pretty hefty novel, but if you were asked to memorize a novel word for word you would probably think it was impossible. Why is it you can learn just as much material almost perfectly without even trying, but the thought of memorizing a 500 page book seems impossible? The answer to this question is the power of audio learning, and the more you can incorporate it into your own study, the better off you’ll be and the sooner your grades will improve.

The US State Department has been using this for decades to teach their Foreign Service officers new languages. Commercial companies have used the same ideas for language-learning systems of their own. Unfortunately, the expense of producing these products is high so these systems often cost upwards of $300 or more. Cost is a big reason that audio learning isn’t more widely used. Between recording studio fees, royalties, and distribution, the cost pushes the price point beyond what most people are willing to pay. This is too bad because many people can benefit from audio learning tools.

On the other hand, much of the educational audiobook products that are out there are not very well designed. They amount to little more than someone reading you a textbook. One of the reasons you can memorize so many songs is that the learning is both passive and interactive. You not only listen to the songs but you sing along, either in your head or out loud depending on where you are. If you look at the best language-learning tools, they use an interactive approach. As you’re looking for audio learning products or recording your own, be sure you make it interactive to take full advantage of its potential.

In order for audio learning to be truly powerful, it too must be both passive and interactive. Neurologically, this careful balance puts the brain into a hyper-retentive state and triggers the primitive limbic portion of the brain to allow the information to be put immediately into long term memory. Some learning specialists refer to this as the “test effect,” and it’s easy to demonstrate: how many questions that you missed on a test can you still remember? Even the interactive action of taking the exam and receiving feedback plugs in to our limbic brain and our emotional response to it help firmly plant it in our memory. Even the commercial language programs tend to fail at the emotional aspect of retention, but if you can design your own in such a way that it’s emotionally rich you’ll reap more benefits.

The other reason songs stay with us is that we listen to them more than once, so audio learning is most effective if we have multiple repetitions of the material. This repetition is critical and some audio programs have based their entire existence on taking advantage of spaced repetition. These programs went a little overboard and made their products so repetitive that they sacrificed amount of content in lieu of repetition. Be sure to incorporate repetition in your study aids, but don’t go overboard.

Medical students and other professionals are prime candidates for harnessing the power of interactive audio learning. They not only have to memorize countless pages of information, but they face continual examination where they must recall this information or be unable to practice. The also have very limited extra time, so any additional study must be squeezed in between myriad obligations. Audio learning isn’t just for medical professionals; anyone can benefit from its awesome power.

Dream And Uncover Your Own Leadership Qualities

Last summer I had the pleasure of taking a trip which included a drive through 19 states in 10 days. It was a considerable amount of driving but a wonderful encounter with history and nostalgia. Each city and town seemed to boast a special person or event that helped shape our country. One thing that really impressed me was the how many times I found myself on Martin Luther King Jr Blvd in so many different cities and towns.

There are Martin Luther King Jr Blvds in Dallas, Chicago and Chapel Hill. There were other streets and highways named after him in other cities that I wish I had counted them all. At one point on the trip, I recall seeing another sign for Martin Luther King Jr Blvd and I briefly could not remember what city or state I was driving through at the time.

Just what qualities did this man possess that made so many considered him great? Even if a person didn’t believe in what he was preaching, there was no denying his great influence. Why? To get the answer I did not have to look far. Martin Luther King Jr himself knew the answer – just have a dream or a new direction and funnel all your energy to getting that dream. With a dream or a vision anyone can learn to be a leader.

All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes, to make it possible.

(TE Lawrence, “The Seven Pillars of Wisdom“)

Everyone can learn to lead by discovering the power that lies within each one of us. We can make a difference by being prepared when the call to lead comes. Becoming a leader starts with acknowledging and learning about five qualities we all possess to some extent. Once we take a deep inventory about ourselves and get to know ourselves, the key is practicing and growing these five qualities.

A leader always has a vision. He cannot exist without a vision and a new direction. The vision is always in the mind of the leader no matter where he goes. Nelson Mandela was still a leader even though he spent years in a prison. He never went a day without dreaming and sharing his vision.

A leader knows what his strengths and weaknesses are. He takes advantage of his strengths and avoids the areas of his weaknesses. He prefers to hire others for the kinds of jobs that would take his energy from the things he is really good at. Do some honest self analysis to gain insight about your own strengths and weaknesses.

A leader can delegate and choose the right man for the job. He should be able to differentiate between the groups of candidates for a particular duty. A leader can only get required support from his group of members only when he has made right decision to select his group members. The key is selecting people to do the jobs that correspond to their own strengths.

A good leader is one who has high targets and makes consistent efforts to achieve those targets. With body he gets tired but by mind he is never tired and his mind is always striving to achieve better; growth is his very first objective.

A good leader is one who is commitment bounded. He always fulfills his promises. He never lets his goodwill go down and always works to strive for perfection and to achieve goals for the satisfaction of others. In other words, he takes care for the rights and interests of his group members.

Leadership can be situational and is achieved by life experiences. Every leader has their unique style and you can find your own utilizing, practicing and growing these 5 qualities. When you can step up into a leadership position you will find others looking up to you for that new direction. You can be a spearhead for a new direction.

Under the Dome by Stephen King – Audio-book Review

I could not resist listening to Stephen King’s new audiobook, Under the Dome, despite the daunting task of thirty four hours of listening. The audiobook is pure Stephen King and narrated excellently by Raul Esparza. Apparently, King started the book back in the 1970s, only to return to finish it now.

In Under the Dome, King does what he does best – show us just how despicable and wicked people can be. The monsters here are human, and they are terrifying.

He starts us out in the beautiful small New England town of Chester’s Mill. It is peaceful and beautiful. It is the perfect small American town. Then it all changes in the flash of a crash into a force field like dome that has trapped the town under an impenetrable barrier.

The town is isolated and unable to reach the outside world. Death follows immediately with plane and car crashes. No one knows what’s happening or how to break through the dome. What is this invisible dome? Why is it happening? Why here? Why now? That’s when the local population starts going bad.

King uses his skills to send the local population into a tailspin of sinister action and frightening turns. Fear, conspiracy, corruption and even murder start to terrorize the town. Vicious characters take control. A virtual dictatorship ensues with full on police control. The population of Chester’s Mill is frozen with fear, and as usual that is a trigger for people doing things they would never even think about under other circumstances.

Terror and an internal battle for control naturally arise from the tension and out of control situation. It is a battle of Evil versus not so evil that shows us just how ugly people can get. It is a battle for their lives, with people doing anything and everything terrible you can imagine. With breath taking horror, just when it seems the sort of good guys might win, King pulls the rug out from under them yet again.

This audiobook is a frightening ride into terror and horrible actions that only humans can inflict upon one another. Once you start listening, you will be addicted to the story and power through this marathon performance.

My last warning, don’t start listening to the performance of this audiobook unless you have some time on your hands. Uncomfortable though the performance may be, it’s thirty four compelling and suspenseful hours of listening, but once you start, it quickly becomes impossible to stop.

Listen to the audio sample of the Under the Dome Audiobook.