Auditory Learning: A Perspective

Auditory Learning: A Perspective

Guest Commentary

Mar 16, 2022
By Dawood Findakly, MD, and Kevin Gallagher, MD
In this piece, we will discuss an important resource in continuing education from different angles. This will contribute to and enhance medical development and provide a great opportunity for effective learning.
The pace at which medicine is advancing, particularly in the field of hematology and medical oncology, has led physicians to explore available resources and look for means to stay up to date, learn, and disseminate knowledge to peers. With available learning styles, it is beneficial to explore new resources that will help refine knowledge and add confidence while advancing in professional careers.
With the COVID-19 pandemic came new challenges as physicians were introduced to the virtual world, which opened doors to various opportunities in disseminating medical knowledge.
One example of this is through the use of podcasts—a vital and innovative web-based auditory tool that enhances active learning. Podcasts are audio episodes, of varying lengths, with a focus on a certain field or topic. They are evolving as a more attractive method of providing auxiliary knowledge given the ease of access, and its expansion with plenty available recordings that allow physicians to remain up to date amid the constantly advancing field.
The concept behind auditory learning is that it helps us retain information while we listen to discussions on certain topics and brainstorm complex cases. The brain will accommodate this by creating a model with a focus to understand the whole picture of what the topic is about and the message behind the talk. What makes this unique is that it does not need a specific setting and helps “fill in” otherwise potentially frittered time with valuable insight. Material can be selected based on a preferred topic and can be accessed easily in the palm of your hand through portable devices or mobile phones from any location—even while driving or exercising. 
"Listening to podcasts helps me get insights from experts in the field and expand my knowledge on the thought process behind guideline-directed management decisions and the expert consensus recommendations for rare cases." —Dr. Dawood Findakly
Additionally, listening to experts as they try to determine the best approach to managing complex and challenging cases will help inspire confidence, while also minimizing impostor syndrome.
I had an interesting conversation with Dr. Kevin Gallagher about this method of learning and wanted to spread knowledge on the insights of education throughout and after training.

Dr. Gallagher on the Unique Aspects of Auditory Learning:

Sitting down to study can feel like a “high stakes” chore and although this is very necessary at various times in our post-graduate studies, it feels like “med school.” 
I found myself fresh out of hematology/oncology fellowship and in a new job that required an hour commute. Sometimes this was much-needed quiet time, and sometimes it became a great time to call and catch up with colleagues and family. But once I started listening to audio learning sessions…I couldn’t stop! Not only did they “fill” the time, but by selecting topics that were relevant to a particular case I had seen the day before, it really cemented the knowledge in a low-pressure environment—my car. 
The best discussions were those of expert round tables. This gave an authentic tone in which the information literally came to life. It makes learning less of a job and more of our life. 
I appreciate learning “on the go” and I hope those in training will also explore this valuable resource for lifelong learning. It has become incorporated into my daily life.
We would like to highlight great resources for up-to-date topics from a variety of podcasts provided by ASCO through ASCO Education, ASH through The Hematologist, and ACP through ACP Podcast.

Takeaways on Auditory Learning Habits:

  1. Train your brain: Explore novel methods of learning.
  2. Learning on the go: Find the setting that suits your style of learning, while enjoying it with easy-to-absorb information.
  3. Explore and adopt: Implement additional study techniques to limit distractions and help you remain focused.
  4. Access to learning materials: Resources are readily available, easy to access, and most are free. Navigating through them will help you review existing guidelines and catch up on what is new in the field. 
  5. Learn while earning credit: Certain topics could also provide CME/MOC points to consolidate learning.
Dr. Findakly is a hematology and medical oncology fellow at Louisiana State University (Shreveport) Program. Follow him on Twitter @dawood_findakly. Disclosure
Dr. Gallagher is a hematology/oncology staff physician at Overton Brooks VA Medical Center, as well as a clinical assistant professor in the department of medicine at Ochsner LSU Health - Feist-Weiller Cancer Center. Disclosure.


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